Bocca di Lupo has been around for a while now, but I never made the effort to go and visit. Recently, I was pretty jealous after I heard my friends rave about the meal they had there so I hastily booked myself in. On a Friday night, the bar was packed and the place had a nice buzz about it.
Squid, prawns and aubergine were all fried expertly and were greaseless; even the aubergine, which is no easy feat. Prawns were munched heads and all.
Shaved radish, truffle and pecorino salad with pomegranates whiffed of the heady scent of truffle oil. Short sharp bursts of the pomegranate seeds accentuated the peppery flavours of the radish. At first bite I found it agreeable; soon enough I kept going back for more. It was a real grower.
A plate of raw seafood came pleasingly with three slices of each (besides the langoustine) so we could all have a fair share. Rosemary oil gave the seafood a more Italian flavour. The scallop was sweet and fresh but my real favourite was the red prawns.
The leaves of the deep fried artichoke were crisp perfection, and we managed to split the beloved heart into three.
I am a huge fan of pasta, and orrichette with 'njuda salami had the words 'extremely spicy' underlined in the menu description. They weren't lying. It was.
Pappardelle with ox cheek was my favourite dish of the night. Light as a feather pasta bathed in a deliciously meaty, hearty sauce topped off with plenty of cheese. I was loathe to share it.
I've never had teal before; I don't think I will again. Clearly I haven't learnt that anything gamier than pigeon is too gamey for me. My companions devoured this.
The only dud dish of the night was puntarelle, a type of chicory, dressed with anchovy and lemon. It tasted of grass dressed in salty fish. Perhaps if the chicory stems were sliced a little thinner it may have been more palatable, but we largely left this dish untouched.
With two bottles of wine and service, the bill came to about £45 each. It aint cheap, but I loved it. I'm now regretting skipping dessert, but there will definitely be a next time.
Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer Street
London W1D 7BB
Tel: 020 7734 2223