A new restaurant from the people behind Bocca di Lupo and Gelupo, offering low-priced Italian dishes inspired by street food.
‘Ugh! Can’t think of anything worse than eating a meal on a plastic stool that doesn’t have a back!’ This WhatsApp from a 23-year-old gal-about-town lays bare part of the challenge that Jacob Kenedy has set himself in Vico, his new fast-food restaurant (an outpost of Bocca di Lupo and Gelupo) in Cambridge Circus. The stools are indeed plastic, and backless.
Other challenges include a site next door to a Polpo, easy-to-dislike decor and an ordering system so unconventional it has to be explained to first-timers. Most food (pre-cooked) sits on the counter awaiting your choice, though there’s also raw fish and shellfish deep-fried to order and brought to your table by the waiting staff. Everything else you carry to the table yourself. It’s not all that different from a deli counter or buffet, but in a place like this, the idea takes time to get used to. And I give full credit to Mr Kenedy and Co for making numerous changes to food and setting (some in response to customer feedback) during the course of an unusually lengthy soft launch.
So: what about the food? I have been to Vico five times now, first in soft launch (which doesn’t really count) and more recently after proper opening. One part of a single dish was an out-and-out dud. The rest has ranged from good to pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming fabulous. Deep-frying is a particular strength, both in dishes cooked to order and in arancini and polpette, deep-fried balls with daily-changing fillings. Pizzas feature thick but feather-light bases. Salads are dressed with care. Look out for tiella, a filled flat pastry with fishy stuffings based on tuna or salt cod.
Another unconventional feature is that you order by weight. In some restaurants, that can lead to bill-shock – especially if you’re serving yourself and just like the look of everything. At Vico, the staff serve you – and they do not over-fill the plates (actually small steel platters, by the way). I never spent more than £12 a head, before drinks, for a lightish but deeply satisfying lunch. At dinner, with drinks from the very basic list (wines in carafe or beer), you could get yourself pretty well stuffed for £25 a head.
Would you want to do it while sitting on a plastic stool? Well, Vico is never going to win any awards for comfortable seating. But the stools are perfectly tolerable for a 30-minute lunch. And some evenings, we were informed, the place is so rammed that not only is every stool taken but some people literally vote with their feet: they eat standing up. So Jacob Kenedy’s multiple challenges may pay off, whatever the ‘ugh’ brigade thinks.
We serve uplifting, zingy Italian cuisine, cooked with the finest ingredients in a dramatic urban setting – Italian food for the future.
We serve small plates – tapas style – and are a go-to restaurant for anyone enjoying Covent Garden, Seven Dials, Leicester Square or Theatreland.
We pour an innovative selection of Italian wines – select choices from Alpine, Apennine and island regions, as well as Italian grapes that have emigrated abroad.
Many of our dishes are suitable for vegetarians, or people seeking a fresh and lighter meal. Our meats and seafood are sourced from the UK and the Mediterranean.
The show-stopping centrepiece of this impressive Cambridge Circus restaurant is an indoor fountain, hand-crafted in lapis-like terrazzo, which truly brings the indoor piazza to life.
To make a reservation call 020 7379 0303. We always accommodate walk-ins.
|Opening hours:||Mon-Tue noon-3pm & 5-9.30pm; Wed-Fri noon-3pm & 5-11pm; Sat non-11pm; Sun noon-9.30pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Leicester Square|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: around £50|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.1 / 5
- 5 star:18
- 4 star:10
- 3 star:5
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:2
If you're sick of sandwiches from chains for lunch, give Vico a try. Delicious Italian food unlike any other lunch option, and great for pre-theatre dinner. Worth a trip if you're in and around Soho.
This place is BUSY because of its location opposite (sort of) to Palace Theatre (currently showing Harry Potter & the Cursed Child) so they have guaranteed customers for AGES! Although I was seated straight away I was not asked to order for a good 10min as it's just rammed with pre-theatre crowd (myself included) and tourists... ugh. Anyway the menu for me really lacked good veggie options... I really struggled to order and I'm not even that fussy! Worst thing is what I ordered turned out not to be vegetarian- double ugh!
MAMA MIA! what a pizza, not to mention an uplifting musical. This was almost as good as Pizza Hut, but, as with Harvester, the unlimited salad bar just edges it.
I've only had pizza from Vico and I must say each flavour I have tried I have liked...a lot! The crust is the right thickness fro me and the topping selection is great also.I recommend the pizza's very much :)
When Italians like food from a restaurant claiming itself as "Italian" you can trust it's a good one. That's the case with VICO.
The pasta al pesto (both rosso and green) is just amazing. I specially like the one with pine nuts.
The parmesano and mozzarella cheeses are incredibly good. Same thing with the cherry tomatoes and the olives.
I tried tiramisu for the desert and was excellent.
By far the best Italian place to eat in the centre.
Having walked past this place a number of times I was very excited to hear we were having a meeting with the lunch catered by Vico. To our great excitement lots of fresh salads, tasty pasta dishes, and gorgeous pizzas with generous toppings were delivered then to top it all off we had a divine tiramisu among other delicious goodies to stuff our faces with. I am feeling very full and very spoiled and will definitely be taking my friends to Vico for pre-theater meal or maybe sneak out a tasty takeaway for lunch! Given 4 stars 16 Mar 2016
Have since been to eat in the restaurant itself, I can say this restaurant has poor choice and is crazy over-priced! We spent around £54 each for a shared starter, 3 glasses of wine and 2 mains and 1 side, this was also with a 30% discount off the total menu.
The shared starter was lackluster and underwhelming, only the tuna tartare was worth mentioning. My main was sea bream and arrived under-cooked and even though I'd specified grilled it came out as soggy, oily and baked. The side of garlic potatoes was very obviously reheated/re-fried potatoes, the other side salad was just chopped romaine lettuce and was refunded seeing as both our main's came on a huge bed of romaine lettuce.
The staff were warm and friendly and happy to offer advice on the menu, but this isn't enough to make a worthwhile visit. In summary this is a great place for catering, but I would not recommend going there to sit in and eat.
Yum - great Italian fayre. Perfectly positioned in the heart of theatreland. A great choice for a pre-theatre spot of dining or lunch. I tried the Pesto Pasta and Tiramasu. Really good value
Delicious italian style munchies here great for lunch time if you fancy something different from your usual pret sandwich. also their pizza's are one of the best around soft crispy and light i could happily eat a whole one to myself. althought a bit pricey for an everyday treat it is well worth the money to make your belly happy.
You have got to try the Lasagnancino at Vico. A dish that catches your eye on the menu, after all what is not appealing about deep fried lasagna that you can ignore. Great service, fast and tasty hot food. You will go back for more.
There is nothing not to like about Vico, great food, great atmosphere and a great team in place that keep things running like clockwork and the mood vibrant. I cannot recommend the deep fried lasagne balls and the gelato cake was the perfect way to end a sumptuous meal, not to heavy and full of flavour! Thank you Vico x
Very good selection of food (especially the soft shell crab) and they have created a great ambience in the middle of a busy intersection.
Now with table service! Vico is the ideal place to discover Italian food from across the "comuni" re-inventing the Italian kitchen - The Secondi Tiella Barese from Bari, a mix of mussels & rice is inspiring, the fried squid is plain so opt for Fried Lasagnancino invented in the London "comune" of Cambride Circus. Prosecco all the way.
So overpriced and so confusing...I don't know if they've changed the format but when I went everything was priced by weight so there was no indication of the cost of what you were buying until you get to the till. That's about the point at which you find that it's really expensive. Don't get me wrong the food was pretty good but for a street food "format" which means there's no formal seating/table area (just stools and standing) it's over priced in my opinion.
Fun venue and concept, cheap drinks, but overall I felt a bit unsatisfied. The table/bench we where sitting at was awkward, the pizza was cold (I know this was the idea, but somehow it didn't work), the salad was a bit sloppy, slimy and tiny with too much dressing.The arancini balls where ok, but nothing mind-blowing. Still I know I will probably end up going back as its a fun place for a quick bite.
This takes a few visits to get used to as it's a little befuddling. Persevere though, as the food is really very good indeed and the prices can make a cheap lunch here easy. Make sure you nip (kind of) next door for some of the best ice cream in London!