I had no plans for my birthday and was willing to just let it pass this year with no major event to mark its happening. Work has been busy and it’s been difficult balancing it with any semblance of a social life/blog. My husband wasn’t going to let me get away with that though and booked us into Bocca di Lupo for dinner. I was thrilled! He never really does this kind of thing and he remembered that I’d been wanting to try it for ages. Yes, this was the first time at Bocca di Lupo for both of us and we planned to eat our way through their multi-regional Italian menu.
We each started with a Bloody virgin Sgroppino (£4.00), blood orange granita mixed with fizzy water and we could have drunk this all through dinner if we could have afforded it! Brilliant stuff.
The aperitivo, antipasto and primi on the menu were more exciting to me than the secondi and we mainly forcused on those. I’d heard great things about their pasta and we had to try two. The Linguine with the brown meat of spider crabs and tomato (Veneto) (£8.00) had the sweetest tomatoes and very savoury crab meat scattered through.
Ricotta ravioli with broad bean puree and pecorino (Puglia) (£7.00) were tender little parcels of delicious ricotta. Definitely making this one at home.
What’s a sand eel? was a question that came to mind when ordering the Fried squid, sand eels, courgette and lemon (Veneto) (£9.50). They’re not true eels but long thin skinny fish that are delicious when fried. And what a revelation the fried lemon slices were! They’re wonderfully bitter and refreshing.
The Artichoke alla giudia (Roma) (£5.00) were smaller than those we had in Rome but they made up for it by giving us two of them. Excellent.
As we had filled up with the primi, we kept it quite simple for the secondo. We ordered 200g of Pork neck with honey and rosemary (Toscana) (£8.00 per 200g) to split and also shared a side of Erbette – baby chard with garlic and chilli (Liguria) (£6.50). While the pork was fantastic, the erbette was a bit of a let down, mainly because it had been cooked very authentically in the Italian way – almost boiled to death!
We went to town on the desserts: we were perched at the bar right in front of the guy putting together desserts and by the time we’d finished our savoury dishes we knew exactly what we wanted for sweets. My Blood orange (sorbet with brulee meringue) (Sicilia) (£4.00) was the frozen orange shell filled with blood orange sorbet and topped with lots of sweet meringue burnished brown. The combination was very good though the meringue could have been a bit less sweet for me.
Blai’s Burnt almond granita with bitter chocolate sorbet (BDL) (£7.00) had him in utter raptures. Utter silent raptures. I could barely get his attention while he ate it and he became indignant when I helped myself to more than one taste! No dessert has ever inspired this kind of response from him, so yes, it’s excellent!
After a bit of digestion time, it was decided that we required another dessert to cool us down before leaving (it was a very warm evening). A Blood orange granita with almonds and mint (Sicilia) (£6.50) it would be! Yup, very good…but it can’t top that almond and chocolate combination.
Sure a meal here’s not cheap (and hence why it was only a special occasion that warranted a visit) but it’s excellent. Don’t expect to rock up and get a table though – bookings are recommended at least a week or two in advance. Thank you for a fabulous birthday dinner, Blai!
Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer Street
London W1D 7BB