I've been intrigued to try out Spuntino since it first opened its doors last year, so a friend and I joined its infamous queue yesterday afternoon and gave it a whirl. And what a pleasant whirl it was. Spuntino's siblings include other such delightful eateries as Polpo, Polpetto and the latest addition in Covent Garden, Mishkin's. Even though they all have their own unique identity, style and personality, the common thread is the simplistic decor, subtle lighting and sharing plate menu. Polpo, Da Polpo and Polpetto have a strong Italian taverna influence, whereas Spuntino has a more New York inspired flair with its signature sliders and mac n' cheese dishes. And the new Mishkin's is different again, as it's going for the Jewish deli & cocktails vibe (that's next on my list to check out).
Arriving at 3pm was a good idea as we missed the lunch time rush and even though there was still a small queue, it was definitely worth the short wait, during which we drank tea and sipped wine until two seats with our name on them became available. Apart from an alcove at the back with a table for around six people, dining at Spuntino is all about sitting at the bar. It's not exactly a large establishment, so it's pretty cosy and relaxed. We got great seats in the corner where we could watch the handsome array of male-dominant staff, beavering away in their turned up trousers (whether a fashion trend or an attire requirement, they were all sporting turn-ups), mixing cocktails, seating diners, serving food and tending the popcorn machine.
I loved all the enamelware used for serving the food. Lots of heavy duty tin plates, bowls and cups in white with a dark blue trim. You know, the stuff which is very popular amongst camping folk. Our delicious afternoon feast included a couple of artichoke, rocket & chilli pizettas, sliders of the pork & apple and lamb & cucumber pickle variety and a bowl of homemade string fries. We also had a sider order of 'slaw which I was surprised to see was a mayo-free version, and even though it was tasty in a healthy 'bowl of shredded vegetables' way, I was disappointed that there was no mayonnaise, even on request. It appears that Spuntino has a no mayo policy.
It was a perfect way to while away a Saturday afternoon and we even found a little space for some delicious chocolate & whisky cake and another carafe of wine. Despite it being continuously busy, the staff are friendly and chilled and certainly not the kind of waiters who like to induce chronic indigestion by pressurising you to rush your meal. It's a great place to go with friends or on a date and is reasonably priced, although the portions are a bit on the small side, so you'll no doubt end up ordering more than you thought. I really enjoyed Spuntino and hope to return again soon (armed with a secret stash of mayo).
61 Rupert Street
No phone. No reservations. One queue.
Mon - Sat 11am til midnight Sun - noon til 11pm