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The Chef’s Table: Bocca di Lupo, London

Author: Posted on: May 10, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Sitting at the Chef’s Table in Bocca di Lupo, I can’t help but smile at the sequence of events that led us to the prestigious restaurant in  London’s Soho district. Just two weeks prior to our departure on a trip to Dubai and Europe, Mr G discovered the Italian restaurant after reading rave reviews. A quick peruse of their website ignited our interest. We simply had to make a booking.

Within a day or so, I came across a comprehensive review on Helen’s World Foodie Guide blog and when I left her a comment, she kindly recommended that we ask to be seated at the Chef’s Table. The opportunity to observe a commercial kitchen in action has been on my wish list for years.

Bocca di Lupo takes online reservations but we were most disappointed that they were booked out on the nights we were to be in London. I emailed them explaining that we were coming from Australia and as avid foodies, expressed our desire dine there during our visit to London. By the time we left Sydney and holidayed in Dubai, I had no reply. Then on our arrival to London, I received an email from the Reservations Manager confirming our request and I could barely contain my excitement.

Bocca di Lupo, London

Outside Bocca di Lupo

Spotting the two empty stools in the corner as we are about to enter the restaurant, my heart sinks. From that spot, it would be difficult to see the chefs in action.

Bocca di Lupo, London

The Bar, From the Chef’s Table

But once we are inside, we are shown to our seats away from the bar section and right in the centre of the kitchen action.

Bocca di Lupo, London

The ambience on this Thursday evening is one of casual elegance. The shiny marble bar is lined with attractive people. Many diners appear to be couples on a date, marking it as the place to take someone you want to impress.

Bocca di Lupo, London

The marble top bar

We order cocktails to start the evening. My Watermelon and Basil Martini (left) is made with crushed watermelon, vodka and infused with basil is an excellent starter. I can taste the Vodka first, followed by the juiciness of the watermelon with a little kick from the basil in the end notes. Mr G orders the Monk (right), made with Vodka, Frangelico and Espresso, a powerful combination of ingredients better enjoyed as a post-dinner cocktail.
Bocca di Lupo, London

We are presented with an assortment of breads, tiny black olives and a fruity olive oil while we study the menu. Head Chef Jacob Kenedy with second chef David Cook serve dishes that are quintessentially Italian. They all come in two sizes, small and large, each being a speciality of a region in Italy. We are spoiled for choice and we order a few dishes to start.

Bocca di Lupo, LondonBocca di Lupo, London

Lamb Prosciutto with Pecorino Fiore Sardo

The Lamb Prosciutto Pecorino Fiore Sardo arrives first, three pieces of cured meat with wedges of Pecorino cheese served on a wooden board. The lamb has a lovely spicy and a little smoky flavour which complements the sharpness of the Pecorino. The marbled meat just melts in the mouth.
Bocca di Lupo, LondonBocca di Lupo, London

Terre di Franciacorta bianco Fratelli Berlucchi Chardonnay/Pinot Bianco, 2008

We choose a bottle white wine to accompany our dishes, Terre di Franciacorta Bianco 2008, Fratelli Berlucchi Chardonnay/Pinot Bianco from Lombardia and watch the fours chefs in action. Wines are available by the glass or by the bottle.
Bocca di Lupo, London

Soft shell crab with white polenta and orange

The soft shell crab with white polenta and orange has an intriguing presentation. The crab is fried and accompanied by crispy potatoes and white polenta, the latter being a preferred complement to seafood. I am a little hesitant on the zestiness from the orange but it only imparts a mild flavour to the sweetness of the crab.

Bocca di Lupo, London

So we order another.
Bocca di Lupo, London

Black risotto of cuttlefish and its ink

Every so often, one mouthful of a dish takes you to culinary heaven. The black risotto of cuttlefish and its ink (Veneto) is the one for me. The flavours are robust, the rice cooked to perfection and the taste lingers to the point I start to hope the next dish is delayed just a little.

Watching the chefs work in the kitchen defines what the corporate term of teamwork should be, fluid, supportive and lacking in egos. The head chef is coordinating three others, while he cooks, plates up and keeps a watchful eye on every detail.

Bocca di Lupo, London

The chefs moved so fast, all I ever photographed was their backs.

Bocca di Lupo, London

Grilled girolles with parsley and chilli

Sitting in this prime location serves a dual purpose. While the menu may not tempt you, the sight of completed dishes coming out of the kitchen makes you order it.

The aroma emanating form the kitchen when the Grilled Girolles with Parsley and Chilli (Lombardia) are cooked is enough to tempt us. The flavour from the mushrooms is earthy and complex. I could eat this dish as a main, served with a fine polenta.

Bocca di Lupo, London

Cannellini beans all’uccelletto

The taste of Cannellini Beans all’uccelletto remind me of my first time in Florence. All’uccelletto refers to the way they are cooked using garlic and fresh sage, which is the traditional way to prepare arrosto di uccelletti, or roasted birds.
Bocca di Lupo, London

Spaghettini with lobster, mussels and ginger

We end on a main course of spaghettini with lobster, mussels and ginger. The seafood flavours are so fresh and not masked by the tomato sauce, a generous serving of the lobster and mussels, with the ginger imparting a welcome kick.

Meanwhile I am enjoying the the inner workings of the open kitchen before us.
Bocca di Lupo, London

This generous sized Bistecca is a popular choice, to be shared by two people.

Bocca di Lupo, London

Oh to have such a spotless kitchen!

Bocca di Lupo, LondonBocca di Lupo, London

The Dining Room (left) and Chef’s Table (right)

Bocca di Lupo, London

Brioche ’sandwich’ of hazelnut, pistachio and chestnut gelati

For dessert, we share the Brioche ’sandwich’ of hazelnut, pistachio and chestnut gelati (Napoli). Looking more like an elaborate burger, three ice cream flavours are served between slices of a sweet brioche. I cannot decide which gelato I like the most but after several spoonfuls, I vote on the chestnut.
Bocca di Lupo, London

We end what is an excellent meal with Grappa di Barolo Marolo Vintage 1996, aged 12 years in Barrique. Before we leave, we express our gratitude to the chef with special thanks to the person who managed to fit us in and seat us in a prime location.

Bocca di Lupo remains one of the most fabulous dining memories of our last trip, and a restaurant that we would return to on our subsequent visits to London.

In the meantime, I am on a quest to replicate the Chef’s cuttlefish ink risotto.

Bocca Di Lupo
12 Archer Street
Soho, London
http://www.boccadilupo.com/
Bocca di Lupo on Urbanspoon

Corinne

Corinne is the founder and editor of Gourmantic. An avid scribe, she has taken pen to paper since the age of five. Her repertoire includes long works of fiction, short stories and travelogues.

She is a winner of the GT travel writing competition, has judged the Australasian Whisky Awards for 2013 and several cocktail competitions. She is also named in the Australian Bartender Most Influential List for 2013.


This article is posted on Gourmantic.com. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2014

The Chef’s Table: Bocca di Lupo, London was last modified: May 28th, 2014 by Corinne

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7 Comments to “The Chef’s Table: Bocca di Lupo, London”

  1. Margo says:

    looks and sounds fabulous. I love softshell crabs. And the giant brioche? must go eat breakfast now – after reading about that I can’t put it off any longer.

    • Gourmantic says:

      Margo, glad it made you hungry :) We still have the best memories from that dinner! So much variety in the menu that it keeps you coming back. My only gripe is that we don’t live in London!

  2. Jacob says:

    To make the cuttlefish risotto you so loved:

    Make a cuttlefish stew – clean the cuttlefish and cut body & tentacles into 2cm chunks. Fry some diced onions, fennel, celery & red pepper along with a little garlic in plenty of olive oil & a hefty pinch of salt over a medium heat until soft. Add the cuttlefish, some dried chilli flakes and bay leaves and increase the heat to high until the flesh turns white. Add white wine and peeled, chopped tomatoes to cover – along with ample cuttlefish ink. Season well with salt & pepper and braise until the cuttlefish is tender, the sauce rather thick, and a reddish oil has risen to the surface.

    So far, this can be made ahead.

    To make the risotto, sweat some finely chopped onions and a little garlic in butter with a little salt. When softened, add vialone nano rice and fry gently for 5 minutes more. Add a little white wine and enough cuttlefish ink to turn the rice an unconvincing black (you can always add more later) – cook until quite dry. Add the cuttlefish stew, and small additions of fish or vegetable stock. Cook as usual until al dente – adjust the flavour & colour with more ink near the end of cooking if required. To finish, stir in ample parsley and a knob of butter.

    Hope I haven’t missed anything!

    • Gourmantic says:

      Jacob, I am honoured by your visit and ever so grateful for sharing your cooking method with me! I’m very keen to try it soon and I hope I can do your dish justice :)

      Thank you so much for the fabulous experience and memories your team has given us at Bocca di Lupo.

  3. [...] With the heat of Dubai behind us, we headed towards the cooler temps of London. The city is a regular stop for us in Europe, where we’re privileged to have good friends who travel long distances to meet us for a pint or a bite to eat. We also take time out to visit a much loved aunt who has since slipped away. We crammed in a little sightseeing, a visit to St Pancras station, a chilly walk along the Thames, spent a fun evening dining at Jamie’s Italian in Canary Wharf and scored last minute seats on the Chef’s Table at the innovative Bocca di Lupo. [...]

  4. [...] food kind. We prefer to venture a little further afield vis the tube as we did when we dined at Bocca di Lupo in Soho and Jamie’s Italian at Canary [...]

  5. [...] were equally rapt to discover that Roberto has also launched another of our favourite restaurants, Bocca di Lupo in London, where we had the pleasure of dining at the Chef’s Table a year [...]

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