Pigeon Italian Style; Fat Duck Wins: U.K. Food Buzz
Polpetto, the first offspring of the Soho eatery Polpo, will officially open on Aug. 23, less than a year after restaurateur Russell Norman shook up London dining with his low-price, high-volume Venetian snack bar.
The new venue, above the French House, on Dean Street, will feature Polpo’s New York-style industrial look and have a similar menu, along with new dishes such as pigeon saltimbocca. As chefs love locally sourced ingredients, my concern is that the pigeons don’t come from Trafalgar Square.
While Polpetto won’t accept bookings for dinner, you may reserve a table for the previews on Aug. 20 and 21, when the food will be half price. Bookings open at 10 a.m. tomorrow on +44-20-7734-1969. Expect long lines. The wait for a table at Polpo can be an hour. Its second offspring, Spuntino, is likely to open in October or early November, Norman said.
The Fat Duck is named Britain’s best restaurant for the third straight year by “The Good Food Guide,” according to the website Chefhermes.wordpress.com. Gordon Ramsay comes second and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons third. The rest of the Top 10 are: L’Enclume, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Restaurant Sat Bains, Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, Le Champignon Sauvage, Pied a Terre and the Square, according to Chefhermes, which says the guide will be published on Sept. 8.
The City of London branch of Goodman opened this week, bringing to the financial district the dishes of the Mayfair steak restaurant that has become a favorite of carnivores. I’ve had lunch at the new Old Jewry venue the past two days and might go back tonight. Sadly, the restaurant may drop the opening offer of 50 percent off food as early as today. The kitchen and the aging room are on the ground floor, alongside the dining room, but the window tables, in front of the bar, are best. Information: http://www.goodmanrestaurants.com/ or +44-20-7600- 8220.
The Savoy Grill is scheduled to open in less than two months and you might be forgiven for confusion about exactly who will be running Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen.
Holli Ugalde, 24, winner of “Hell’s Kitchen” in the U.S., will take up “an executive chef position at the Savoy Grill,” according to Fox TV’s website. She’ll become “head chef,” the Evening Standard and other newspapers reported yesterday.
The problem is the restaurant already has a chef director (Stuart Gillies) and a head chef. Ramsay’s publicists yesterday issued a statement clarifying that Ugalde’s prize is “a six- month placement alongside Head Chef Andy Cook.” Glad that’s sorted out.
Glyndebourne is bringing opera to Somerset House this month, with on-screen relays of performances from Aug. 20-22. There’s “Billy Budd,” “The Rake’s Progress” and “Hansel and Gretel.” Tickets are 15 pounds ($23.50): Telephone +44-844-847- 2317. If you think “Rigoletto” sounds like a type of pasta and “Cavalleria Rusticana” a restaurant, no problem. Fortnum & Mason is catering, and picnics star at 40 pounds. Tel. +44-300- 1707 and there’s also a pop-up tea shop.
Pizza fans should look out for Melito, which opened last week near Oxford Circus. It’s owned by Simon Prideaux, a veteran of the Admiral Codrington and Devonshire Terrace. Options include spicy salami, with Laverstoke Park Buffalo Mozzarella and rocket, and pasta dishes such as macaroni with veal and pork meatballs, sage and green olives. Information: http://www.melito.co.uk/ or +44-20-7636-6560.
The Islington cocktail bar 69 Colebrooke Row will celebrate the Italian Ferragosto holiday on Aug. 15 with Sicilian music, food and drinks from 2 p.m. until midnight. There’s no admission charge and no reservations. The Sicilian band Solo D is scheduled to play at 7 p.m. Information: http://www.69colebrookerow.com/ or +44-7540-528-593.
(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)