When Russell Norman founded Polpo 10 years ago, it was All’Arco, the Venetian bàcaro, that served as inspiration for the restaurant. For just three days this summer, from July 30 to August 1, All’Arco will journey to London for a residency at Norman’s original Beak Street restaurant.
Chef Matteo Pinto – who co-owns and runs All’Arco along with his father, Francesco, and his mother, Anna – will take over the entire bar area at the front and recreate their celebrated menu of cichéti, the Venetian spelling for cicchetti. Matteo will be joined by All’Arco chefs Tommaso dall’Acqua and Lorenzo Bettio, making everything to order based on what they have been able to source locally – a truly Venetian philosophy. The menu’s staples will include Cantabrian anchovies on cold butter crostini (£1.50); baccalà mantecato (£2.00); sopressa with Gorgonzola and fresh horseradish (£2.50); sardines “in saor” on grilled polenta (£2.50); grilled red mullet with dill (£3.00); braised courgette and pepper tramezzini (£2.50); and seabass crudo with sea salt and olive oil (£3.00). And, like its Venetian mothership, there will be plenty of spritz, bottle-fermented prosecco and young northern Italian wines to imbibe.
“I have been eating at All’Arco for as long as I can remember and it’s my go-to spot every time I visit Venice,” says Norman. “Its cichéti were my first experience of genuine Venetian bar food, the sort that locals eat several times a day, and it inspired much of what we serve at Polpo.” The residency is a fitting 10th birthday celebration for a restaurant that has led the scene for the past 10 years.