We had tried for a while to get a Saturday lunch reservation at popular Soho Italian, Bocca di Lupo, with no such luck. On Friday night my husband suggested going there for lunch the next day, to which I scoffed we’d never get a table at such short notice. Nevertheless I went online to see if they had a table and they did! I can only assume, with it being January, that either people are on a diet or just having a low-key month after the excess of Christmas. Whichever, I’m delighted it meant we finally got a table!
Despite getting a table at short notice, the restaurant was pretty full and it was buzzing. As we’d not been before our waitress explained the concept, which is to order a few dishes – tapas-style – to share. We started by ordering an Aperol Spritz to drink and some starters to share: buffalo mozzarella, a radish, celeriac and pomegranate salad with pecorino and truffle dressing and crescentino with salami (which is from my husband’s hometown, Bologna).
The salad was really fresh and the truffle dressing took it to another dimension. Although the crescentino looked different in shape to the ones in Bologna, they tasted the same – amazing! The couple at the table next to us were intrigued and asked us what it was but sadly they were on their coffees already! Hopefully it will stay on the menu for a little while.
The menu changes daily as the dishes are based on what’s seasonal. Bocca di Lupo tries to showcase Italy’s regional specialities, so expect the menu to reflect the different regions – from Campania to Emilia-Romagna, and everywhere inbetween.
For our mains we decided to order two large portions of pasta rather than a few smaller dishes to share. I opted for the mixed cheese tortellacci with sage and walnuts (from Emilia-Romagna), which was delicious. The pasta was perfectly cooked and it’s such a comforting dish for winter. It was rather large (or I was just full from the starters) so my husband helped me out with finishing it.
My husband opted for Puglia’s speciality dish, orecchiette di arso with crime di rape (turnip tops) – it’s a slightly bitter tasting dish and orecchiette translates as ‘little ears’ as the pasta is shaped like ears. We both enjoyed a glass of chilled prosecco with our pasta.
We don’t usually have dessert at lunch time but we were tempted to share one when we looked at the menu. We chose to have Le palle del nonno, which translates as ‘Grandpa’s balls’. (Yes, really). They were deep fried balls of ricotta with orange zest and chocolate. Oh boy! They were so good… sort of like a doughnut but crispier.
We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at Bocca di Lupo. The food was fabulous, the service excellent, staff were really friendly and welcoming and the ambience was lively. Next time I think we’d like to try sitting at the bar, just for a different experience.