Spuntino opened in March; it is still talk of the town for the most obvious reason: it’s bloody perfect.
Soho is overpopulated with small-eats and cafes, yet Spuntino has found the unique niche as an all-day diner serving chic little plates in a deliberately rusty room. Brick walls, scratched tiles, bulbs hanging down from high ceilings and tarnished bits here and there, I can’t find a word to describe the place, it’s just Soho.
The bar sits less than 20 and we were placed bang in the middle after a brief 20-min wait at 3pm on a Saturday. We were offered still, sparkling or tap water as we studied the menu printed on the paper tablemat. The menu wasn’t short of inventive items, such as aubergine chips with fennel yoghurt and mackerel sliders, but also included some conventional dishes. We were served with a mug of chilli popcorn as we sipped on our drinks.
Freshly popped popcorn sprinkled with salt and a squeeze of chilli oil, and then shaken like a cocktail.
Egg & Soldiers
Everyone ordered this and everyone loved it. I am no different. The sesame crust crumbled on the lustrous surface as I broke into the egg, revealing the glowing gooey yolk. Crispy bread dunked in yolk is so simply gorgeous.
Truffle Egg Toast
A very thick slice of toast, crusty at the bottom with melted fortina cheese, topped with a well of runny egg yolk and a generous splurge of truffle oil. This was divine. The viscous yolk sealed the truffle perfume with the chunky bread and protracted its essence till I grinned. The textures complimented and blended perfectly.
I sometimes add a few drops of truffle oil onto my scrambled eggs for breakfast and thought I was a genius (just humour me)….
Beef & Bone Marrow Slider
It’s the bone marrow, I was going to try the mackerel slider instead, but I just couldn’t say no to bone marrow. It was a good slider in the way that patty was ultra thick, almost like a meatball, coated with melted cheese and was oozing juices. But I couldn’t find where the bone marrow was hidden. What happened to the buttery bovine goodness?
Calamari & Chickpeas
I thought this was a prime example of simple brilliance; good cooking and great ingredients. Springy calamari drizzled with its own ink, succulent and natural. I am not a fan of chickpeas, or lentils, or beans in general, but they made the dish more substantial and I am still trying to think of an alternative that doesn’t dilute the flavours.
This was about the right amount of food for a late lunch, despite the mountain pile of tangled shoestring fries winking at me. (Looks like hallucination is a side-effect of good food)
Despite the full house and a small queue of curious diners, the service was totally laid back, doing one thing at a time at their pace, explaining the menu, chatting with satisfied customers, even a couple of jokes every now and then. Spuntino completely raised the bar for small-eats and quirky eateries, combining fine ingredients and serving spot-on innovations at reasonable prices. It was a great place to burn a couple of hours in the afternoon.
Spuntino – doesn’t give anything away except for their opening times
61 Rupert Street, Soho
No telephone. No reservations.
You may also like: Terroirs, Cambio de Tercio, Candy’s Cafe