Neapoli is the dawn till bedtime eatery and wine bar by Con Christopoulos: he of the European and Supper Club. Located in narrow Russell Place it joins Vernon Chalker’s all-day café-come-cocktail-bar, Ampere, in condoning daytime drinking. Cheers to that.
If you’re not sure what to do with the crazily international menu, we don’t blame you. Sushi shares space with Greek spanikopita and British blood pudding, and the staff don’t seem all that interested in offering guidance. We suggest a sip-and-snack rather than a stay-and-dine approach. Come for the wine, and add on a plate of trout and scallop ceviche, or a fluffy late-night espresso soufflé as needs be.
The space is beautiful – all sleek and masculine. Lots of amber wood and concrete is cut through by a long wrought iron balustrade that sweeps up the staircase and coils back, framing the upper dining deck. Peer out into the alley through floor to ceiling windows, or perch at the bar on tan leather stools. You’ll be sharing elbow room with a 19th century cheese cloche (fancy) and you’ll have a clear view of the little retail cellar which you can dip into for a $20 mark-up per bottle. Nice.
We wouldn’t rush back for the soft shell crab tempura which is more batter than crustacean; and we’d advise against pan-fried chicken livers unless you’re a dyed-in-the-wool offal fan – the sticky wine reduction does little to disguise the fact you’re eating an organ. Try the rabbit stifado instead. Whole onions and juicy pieces of meat on the bone arrive in bright braising stock of tomato and red wine, with herb flecked boiled potatoes on the side. Or there's always a big salad of brussel sprouts and green beans which you can embellish with a big boll of La Latteria mozzarella. Or, skip the lot and stick to cheese.
Christopoulos has built a beautiful space. With better service and a simpler menu, Neapoli could add another string to his bow. Till then, there’s always the Supper Club, or Bar Ampere.