Weigh To Go! | Vico, 1 Cambridge Circus, London, WC2H 8PA
Ah, paying for food by weight. We remember when The Table used to do that with their salad at lunch time, eventually they dropped it – for whatever reason they felt fit. Newbie Vico – from the people behind Bocca di Lupo and Gelupo are giving it a shot instead.
Vico has a prime position next to Polpo at The Ape and Bird on Cambridge Circus. Previously the building housed a Pizza Hut, is it just us that like to know whose restaurant ‘grave’ you’re eating at? Probably.
The idea (I don’t want to say the word concept) is to give the feel of an Italian piazza – people sitting on steps with a slice of tiella (Puglian Italian pie) in hand or licking a gelato etc, you get the gist.
Vico opened with no stools or cutlery but ditched that idea when yep, you guessed it – people complained. I don’t blame them, how do you eat a salad with just your fingers? Plus if you’re in that area of town you’re probably in need of a rest. So there’s now both stools and cutlery, albeit plastic for the moment.
Now I can see the benefits of the whole weight thing – especially if you just want a teeny slither of pizza or a spoonful of salad (although if you’re not that hungry then perhaps you shouldn’t really be in a restaurant.)
I was a little apprehensive that it would be a confusing system but it’s pretty simple. Plus there are set meal deals if you are crap with weights/maths/numbers like I am. I honestly don’t have a clue, my mind just goes to jelly and my eyes glaze over.
You just go up to the counter and choose from a selection of salads, fish that’s cooked to order, pizza, polpette (deep fried ‘meat’ balls) etc. Ade would have gone nuts for the lasagnacino – layers of egg pasta, ragu and mozzarella and Puglian paposcia – crispy Pugliese filled ‘pitta’.
My friend Farzana and I chose three salads – courgette, salted cod & potato and best of all, the punchy aubergine, tomato and chickpea salad. We need the recipe for this one please, Vico. Parma ham and melon skewers completed our ‘cold course’ and all of this came in at a total of £14.85.
We loved picking what fish we’d like cooked to create our own bespoke fritto misto – dusted in seasoning, fried and delivered to our table in minutes. But don’t worry, if fish isn’t your thing, there’s a massive range of arrancini and polpette to choose from too.
Farzana went for the veggie option of a pumpkin and hazelnut arrancini but the whole hazelnut pieces, rather than chopped, overpowered it somewhat. I bought Ade home a slice of the carbonara frittata seeing as I couldn’t eat it myself (stupid cheese). All the hot food came to £17.10 which isn’t bad at all.
We haven’t visited there ourselves, but apparently on the streets in Naples and Rome they sell pizza da taglio – huge pizzas with slices served by weight). Vico are recreating this idea with loads of choice, including a cheeseless one for me, hooray! Unfortunately the topping was just anchovies, basil and olives. I guess that’s punishment for people who don’t like cheese, it was surprisingly enjoyable though. Wine was reasonable at £3.50 a glass and the red was smooth and mellow and came in a cute mini carafe.
To add to the whole Italian piazza feel, Gelupo are at the other end of the restaurant, with a massive selection of interesting flavoured gelato. As tempting as it was to eat myself (there was a vanilla Saffron flavour), I instead went for a scoop of the good old mint choc chip and to accompany it, a boozy rich chocolate (£4) whilst Farzana played around with a tiny cup of vanilla (£3). Someone has eyes bigger than their belly…
To be honest, before we visited Vico I wasn’t really sure what I’d think of it, it sounded a touch gimmicky and confusing. But now on reflection, I can see the point. Especially if you’re in town on your own and need a pit stop in between shopping. Perching on the ‘piazza steps’ looking at THAT light here wouldn’t make you feel like Billy no mates. Now in the meantime, I’m off to try and recreate the chickpea salad…
1 Cambridge Circus, London, WC2H 8PA
Telephone: 020 7379 0303
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 10am – 11pm
Saturday: 10am – 2am
Nearest station: Leicester Square (3 mins walk)
Covent Garden (5 mins walk)
We ate as guests of Vico, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.