November 10 2010
Mark C O’Flaherty
Soho’s chef’s-counter dining scene has reinvigorated a part of London that I’d long stopped going to for food. I love Barrafina, but the no-reservations policy and the perennial queues mean that Bocca di Lupo has become my counter and stool of choice. As well as being bookable, it has a regional Italian menu that’s so good, it’s one of a handful of restaurants that I make a point of visiting at least once a month. The room crackles with conviviality, while flames leap from the chef’s pans. The pasta dishes are as good as you’d find in most Tuscan trattorias, the crudità di mare is terrific and the rustic pork and foie gras sausage with farro is one of my favourite plates anywhere (although I always opt for the small version – the large is too much, even for an arch gourmand such as myself).
On my last visit I decided against my usual Sanguinaccio pudding, instead opting to head to Bocca di Lupo’s recently opened gelataria and deli, Gelupo, just over the road. I was glad I did – this, in my opinion, is the best ice cream in the city (from £2 for a scoop). I had a scoop of espresso gelato with another of suitably autumnal pumpkin and cinnamon. The latter, in particular, was creamy, surprising and delicious.
But Gelupo isn’t just where to go for gelato, granita (Sicilian-style) or sorbet. It’s open from 8am-11pm, and they do a roaring trade in breakfasts, as well as selling some of their fresh pastas, sauces and wines, from their dining room opposite. Most excitingly, they sell the pork and foie gras sausage (around £20 for four). This is an ice cream parlour that’s set to become a new Soho institution.
Open Mon-Wed, 8am-11pm; Thurs-Fri, 8am-1am; Sat, 11am-1am; Sun, 11am-11pm.