Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer Street
Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
The Victim: Dad
The Damage: About £80 for the two of us.
The Background: I had high hopes for Bocca di Lupo. And there you go, I've spoiled the whole review already. Because in that one sentence, you can hear the "…but…" can't you? I'm sorry.
It starts out with my dad's observations of life in London, as we exit the #19 bus: "Well, I'll tell you what I've observed about London this trip. People take the bus a lot. And they smoke. And everyone is rolling a suitcase behind them."
Observant, isn't he?
And as we enter Archer Street, the former New York City cop in him tenses up. "This street. Why don't I like this street? I don't like this street."
I have to admit. There were a lot of random people just standing around. Waiting for nothing. It was odd.
But then we entered Bocca di Lupo and everything was fine again.
The Entrance: I really want a seat at the restaurant's "chef's counter." But I'm denied. To the back of the restaurant we go. And you know? It's sort of like being in a hotel restaurant. The decor is nothing special. Also, Bocca di Lupo is smaller than I expected. Maybe 12 tables in the back of the restaurant? Plus the bar seating.
And our table was wobbly. That was annoying, but our very nice server promptly saw to it once I pointed it out and the wobble, for the most part, went away.
The Menu: I like the menu. The menu clearly states where each dish is from, and you can order pretty much any dish in a small or large portion. I like this. Because you know, with my dad in town, I've been eating out for six days straight and I need a little break. Small portions it is.
The Food: Mussels to start. My father is a very predictable man. When I was a kid, we went to Maine for two weeks one summer, where my father took us from one all-you-can-eat mussels house to another. Buckets of mussels. Really, buckets. At Bocca di Lupo, we get a bowl. A very generous bowl.
Now we had just had mussels in Paris the day before at one of those Paris chain restaurants. (Again, my father is a very predictable man.) Those mussels were good, but the Bocca di Lupo mussels are huge in comparison. They're meaty. They're good. They are mussels with celery, tomato and thyme. It's a clean-feeling dish. It's fine.
For me, it's the tortelloni with with spinach and morels. I keep trying to like mushrooms, really I do. But eh. I still don't. The tortelloni are cooked well and the filling is moist but I sorta feel like it's all a little too clean and bland-tasting for me. I need salt. Or something.
For my father, it's a seafood risotto. He says it's nice. Actually, at the time, he says it's just "okay." But then the next day, he keeps saying, "You know that meal last night? Now that was really good." So you never know, I suppose.
For Dessert: We split one–just one–chocolate and marzipan ball–and order some dessert wine from the very well organized wine list. It's a nice ending.
The Loos: Pretty decent.
The Service: Pretty excellent. Really a nice guy.
The Verdict: Eh. I'm on the fence for this review. I liked how interesting the restaurant's menu is. I liked the idea of sitting at the chef's counter. I just wasn't wowed by my food, but given how everyone is salivating over this place, maybe I should give it another chance. Or maybe everyone's just on some hype train that hasn't stopped at my station.