I think we could all agree that Mondays are fairly rubbish. Especially wet ones that show no remorse. But when dinner at Spuntino's on the cards, who cares about umbrellas anyway?
Having been to Spuntino before, I was keen to go back. It's about four doors down from my (soon to be old) office so it seemed like the perfect time to say goodbye. Part of the Polpo/Polpetto/Mishkin's family, it brings a bit of gritty New York to London. Think lots of cracked subway tiles, tarnished gold, a handful of seats around a bar and a red velvet curtain to take you away from the world outside. Small, but expertly formed, with some of the friendliest bar staff I've ever encountered, I have a lot of love for this place.
Sophie and I were early so, whilst waiting for a bench (Spuntino doesn't do tables), we shared some deep fried anchovy-stuffed olives. Totally moreish and deceptively hot, I washed mine down with a half pint of Camden Hells (don't try and go for a pint, they only offer cans as an alternative and £4.50 is a trifle steep...) When Ash arrived, we'd had some time to go over the menu (and devour the popcorn with chilli salt) and ordered a few things to share. I'm a total fiend for small plates - being able to dip in and out of the dishes gets a huge thumbs up for me.
So we opted for the four sliders - beef and bone marrow, pulled pork and pickled cucumber, lamb and pickled apple, and the prawn po' boy. A little tricky to split into three (don't even try), we essentially had a bite or two of each and declared them all very good. There's not a great deal else going on with the burgers - the focus is the meat - so don't expect your bacons, your cheeses, your several different types of lettuce, just embrace that carnivorous dream. We also chose the burrata (I'm a sucker for burrata) and chicory crostini that was perfectly creamy and garlicky and possibly my favourite dish of the entire night. Trying to get our 'seven a day' we went for the blood orange, ricotta and hazelnut salad and the Spuntino slaw (cucumber, cabbage, apple) as sides and polished off the skillet of mac and cheese - which still remains the crumbliest I've ever tasted and isn't a patch on Mishkin's.
The menu changes regularly depending on what's in season but the firm favourites stand the test of time. Other big draws for me are the barmen (friendly and helpful), the crockery and the infectious atmosphere complete with Jimi Hendrix tunes. Prices are fairly reasonable for a Soho spot and, of course, can escalate if you're feeling peckish. It's one of the better 'informal' places to eat in Soho but naturally, no bookings so grab a stool at the bar as and when you can for a four out of five bit of fun.