Some days I just cry out to do something that feels a little spontaneous. I’ve been going through a soul-sapping house move, and it seems as though every evening has been filled with endless boring domestic tasks, so much so that I sometimes can’t remember what it feels like to have a night off and do something fun just for the HELL of it… I decided that the perfect antidote to this was to have a meal out in Soho somewhere fun where you could feel responsibility slipping off your shoulders. (yeah I know it’s not exactly skydiving on acid, but we do what we can!) So I picked Spuntino – a rather groovy newish place that raises two fingers to sensible planning, because it doesn’t take reservations and doesn’t have a phone number. Hah – feeling daringly spontaneous already!
It’s situated on the rather seedy Rupert Street , and the only clue to its name is a small chalk scribble on the front of the building. Inside it’s very much like a New York bar – tiled walls, zinc counter, low wattage bulbs hanging down from the ceiling, trendy good looking bar staff with beards/flatcaps/Scandinavian cheekbones. There is the happy roar of chatter and loud music, the atmosphere is laid back. You have to queue up, but as long as you’re happy to have a chinwag and a drink to kill the time for 30 mins or so, you’ll be fine. Mind you, we did arrive at 7pm, and by the time we left a couple of hours later, the queue was snaking out of the door…
The food is basically what you could call American ‘tapas’-style comfort food – by which I mean it comes in small plated portions, which is great if there’s two of you because you can try lots of different things on the menu. I don’t recommend trying to come here in a larger group, because you will all be sitting in a row at the counter and it’s hard to chat.
It’s entirely possible to consume a week’s worth of calories in one sitting at Spuntino, because the food is not for the faint of heart – it’s cholesterol-laden goodness mainly of the deep-fried-molten-cheese variety, with the requisite burgers and cheesecakes, but all done with a novel twist. I’d imagine many a happy American ex-pat coming here for a taste of New York and not being disappointed.
Here is what we ate…
Clockwise, from top: pulled pork slider with pickled apple (tender meat, tart apples and a soft bun - yum), eggplant chips with fennel yoghurt dip (very interesting flavours, fresh tangy dip), deep fried olives (these were stuffed with meat and tasted wonderfully of pizza crackers!), soft shell crab with Tabasco mayo (slightly over-crunchy crab, but tasty nonetheless):
Truffled egg toast – ooh la la, this was SEXY. The poshest cheese on toast tasting of truffles, with a runny egg in the centre. Filth!
Mac ‘n cheese – lordy, this was AMAZING. It was like a rich, creamy hug in a bowl, with a lovely crispy topping. It nearly finished us off – I could feel my arteries hardening with every delicious scoop. I nearly couldn’t finish it, but gave myself a talking to:
To not save room for dessert would have been a sin, even though I could feel that the savoury items I had consumed contained enough fuel to keep the UK alight on the National Grid for a week. So soldiering on, we ordered this pair of beauties…
Peanut butter jelly sandwich: woah, this is a very clever dessert. The slices of ‘bread’ are actually two slabs of peanut butter-flavoured ice cream, sandwiched by a tangy raspberry filling and sprinkled with crunchy sugary peanut brittle. Sensational – and I’m not usually that fond of peanuts:
Brown sugar cheesecake with drunken cherries: simply a lovely cheesecake with the mellow flavour of brown sugar, complemented perfectly by the booze-soaked cherries:
After this gastronomic blow-out I fell into the heaviest sleep imaginable (a lard coma) and felt full for a whole 24 hours afterwards! If you are going to Spuntino for a heavy sesh, take a defibrilator…
61 Rupert Street
London W1D 7PW