The buzz is as important as the food at this enduringly popular Soho restaurant, but the food can be pretty memorable too.
The buzz is as important as the food at Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo’s enduringly popular Soho restaurant. Dine at the bar and you’re in for a fun night, or afternoon – especially if you’re by the window. It’s the perfect perch from which to watch favourite actresses swan into the clamorous and less atmospheric rear dining room. The menu is a slightly confusing mix of small and large plates to share and, amid the noise, it can be unclear what you think you’ve ordered and at what point it might arrive. Staff reassuringly affirm, ‘It’s sooo good,’ to virtually everything you suggest – and sometimes they’re right. We have fond memories of buttery brown shrimp on soft, silky white polenta (the Venetian preference), and a deep-fried mix of calamari, soft-shell crab and lemon. The radish, celeriac, pomegranate and pecorino salad with truffle dressing is a much-imitated Bocca di Lupo signature – far better, we found, than the spartan raw fennel salad. The brioche in our gelati dessert was also too dry to thrill, irrespective of the quality of the own-made ices. To drink, there’s an enticing selection of cocktails and an impressive all-Italian wine list, but it isn’t as fairly priced as the hype suggests.