Polpo @ Ape & Bird, WC2

Last weekend, Mummy Swan came for one of her regular visits to the big smoke. We went for brunch at the Kensington Creperie, visited (and shed a little tear at #notevenembarrassed) the heartbreakingly excellent Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the NHM and then went to see Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty at Sadler’s Wells (hilariously we realised halfway through Act 1 that we’d already seen it *facepalm*. Still really good though, they’re on tour atm, check it out).

We wanted to go to Homeslice for pizza after the ballet, but when we got there (at 6pm) we were told it was about a 2hour wait for a table *faints*. I don’t care how good the pizza is, I couldn’t wait that long for sustenance. After a wander around Covent Garden we dropped into Polpo @ Ape & Bird which had a much more reasonable 40m wait. At a bar. Excellent.

Polpo have been around for a while and have several restaurants in central London. When I moved South about 5 years ago it was the first tapas restaurant I tried, and it’s fair to say they kick started my love affair with this kind of food. I haven’t been here for a good few years though, and I’d forgotten how much I love it. SORRY POLPO ❤

We sat at the bar – I do enjoy a bar seat – and started with bread-y things. Butternut squash, ricotta & almond crostini and goats cheese, roasted grape & walnut bruschetta.

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^ so glisten-y… so yummy…

Both lovely, sweet and moreish, though the goats cheese pipped the squash to be the favourite. We also sampled the Polpo specials; the pizzettes (“diddy pizzas”), which they make fresh to order in their red pizzette oven (diddier than a normal pizza oven?) behind the bar.

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We had the spinach, parmesan and soft egg…

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^ Phwooooaaaaaaarrrrrr…

Particularly good if you’re a spinach fan, but we thought the prosciutto, scamorza and pickled raddichio was tastier; the pickle with the meat was a really interesting combination.

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The cod cheeks (my fave) were gloriously soft and tender, with earthy lentils and punchy salsa verde and the crab and chilli linguine didn’t *exactly* lend itself to sharing (messy plate alert!), but was absolutely delicious.

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After the fish we ordered some of the meat dishes. Caroline enjoyed the spicy pork & fennel meatballs, though I wasn’t a huge fan of the texture. The flank steak was thin cut, well cooked and came with portabello mushrooms, rocket and truffle cream. Caroline wasn’t a fan of this, whereas I really enjoyed it. The steak may have been well done but it was SO tasty and crispy and the mushrooms and truffle made it a really rich, indulgent dish.  The duck ragu was also rich (though nowhere near as rich as the steak) but the gnocchi it came with was light and fluffy, the tomato sauce was fresh and the olives added little pops of salty tastiness.

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The whole meal (for the three of us) was a not-at-all-extortionate £100, including tip and a couple of glasses of really excellent and really reasonably priced house wine.

An excellent end to the day 🙂

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