Spuntino, 61 Rupert Street, Soho, London, W1D 7PW

'What do you mean Cillit Bang will shift it? It's meant to look like that!' Paul Winch-Furness photographer | © 2011

We loved this place from the minute we walked in the door. As co-founder Russell Norman said in a recent interview, ‘Once you’re in, you get a metaphorical hug’. We couldn’t put it better ourselves. Hidden in the middle of Soho’s red light district, you wouldn’t know Spuntino was there, it’s effortlessly cool, a door with no sign, the mystery of it adds to the ‘hug effect’ when you walk in. We were welcomed by wafts of gorgeous food being eaten all around us and the sounds of country ‘n’ western and raw rhythm’n’blues.

With the amazing cocktails on the menu, I doubt that glass will stay empty for long! Paul Winch-Furness photographer | © 2011

Our first visit was just for dessert after my birthday lunch at the Opera Tavern on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Ade had what I took him there for – the Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich (read on for pic) and I had the Coconut Mess. Washed down with a Vodka And Lime and a Dandelion & Burdock for Ade. The enamel crockery somewhat reminded me of camping trips at school or the dishes hidden away at the back of your old nan’s kitchen cupboard. Cosy.

What a mess... a Coconut mess to be precise!

The Sunday crowd

Some fizzy pop! Even better than than 'The real thing'!

We were unaware of the subtle cocktail section on the menu on this visit otherwise we would have had one, we only realised they existed on the second visit when we were watching the barman mix up some intriguing drinks and asked what they were.

Once you're propped up at the bar you won't want to leave... The queue of people behind you may think differently though! Paul Winch-Furness photographer | © 2011

We loved being perched at the bar, munching on the fresh complimentary Chilli Popcorn, just watching the oh-so rock n roll barmen and the customers. It was a year to the day that we got engaged in New York, so Spuntino was the perfect place to be. One guy next to us amazed us with how much food he ate in one sitting, it gave us a great chance to see what we fancied also. On our second visit a couple of weeks ago we made sure we came hungry…

Burger, egg and chips - Spuntino style.

The truffled egg toast is a must have, unless, like Saff, you don't like cheese

A much more appealing photo of the eggplant chips - Paul Winch-Furness photographer | © 2011

It was a Friday night and we had to queue for forty minutes which was fine as it meant more time to see what everyone else’s food looked like and to decide what to have ourselves. We had the Egg And Soldiers which has been described as a scotch egg without the sausage, kinda right. Alongside it we had Eggplant Chips With Fennel Yoghurt, these were gorgeous and we had to share the last one, we should’ve just ordered some more. The Pulled Pork And Picked Apple Slider was amazing (again, should have ordered more), but Shoestring Fries were slightly lukewarm but lovely nevertheless

Ade adored the Truffled Egg Toast (a thick slice of white bread with an egg yolk in the hollowed centre covered with melted cheese and truffle oil) and ate it all to himself as not liking cheese meant I missed out. Spuntino is not really the place to be if you can’t eat such cheese/dairy (or are counting the calories).

That's no ordinary lemonade!

I had a Dark & Stormy cocktail with rum and ginger beer (the name reminded me of our wedding day…) and Ade a Rosy Lemonade which was a perfect blend between sweet and sour, our drinks were chosen by the barman as we saw they had just spent forever mixing some very intricate drinks. One in a teacup looked particularly interesting, we would’ve felt bad if we ordered the same. I also had an Orange Blossom which was pretty much all gin with a splash of fresh orange juice.

Ade's favourite... The peanut and jelly sandwich. He could eat a loaves worth!

Chilli popcorn, perfect bar snack. Photo www.markwhitfieldphotography.com

Ade had to have his beloved Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich for dessert again whilst I was too full so cheekily asked for some Popcorn instead. We would loved to have hung around all night but the ever-growing queue behind us meant we couldn’t. There are so many friends we want to bring to Spuntino an show if off to them. We are visiting Russell’s restaurants almost in reverse, we have yet to visit Polpo, Polpetto and the most recent da Polpo yet. How we are going to decide on which one I don’t know.

To read our the second in our series of grilled interviews with co-founder Russell Norman, click here.

Spuntino 61 Rupert Street,
Soho, London, W1D 7PW.
No telephone, no reservations.
Monday to Saturday, 11am till midnight.
Sunday, noon till 11pm.