Spuntino

Open only a week or two, and the only reason the place is getting one star out of five is for the staff… They were all really great, polite and fun to talk to. Other than that….

This place is miles and miles and miles away from anything even remotely New York when it comes to the food. After reading Guy Diamond’s review on the place in Time Out, I thought that it was a dining experience I couldn’t/shouldn’t  miss….although now I wish I had.

The concept is just like Barrafina (Frith Street), where people queue up in a hot, loud, stuffy room, waiting and anticipating for the moment to come where they can sit on a bar stool, in that same stuffy and loud room…only this time with the promise of an “unforgettable” culinary experience.

I kept busy with my 12 year-old Elijah Craig (bourbon) while I read the menu that promised so much….oh so much.

To make a long story short, I’ll get to the point. The order :

1. Ground Beef & Bone Marrow Slider. The brioche that held the all-too-simple, warm and uninspiring mini patty was cold and stale. There was nothing about that burger that would remind you of New York…or any burger in the whole of the USA. Verdict – you can’t get a good burger in London.

2. Salt beef & Pickles Slider – The salt beef itself was OK… but then came that horrible stale brioche again, only now it was smothered in a VERY overpowering Colman’s Mustard that burned all the way into your nasal cavity as you chewed, and swallowed.

3. Eggplant Chips – They weren’t chips. Eggplant is an amazing vegetable, that the chef somehow managed to butcher by overcooking it, and giving it the shape of mozzarella sticks that you can find on any Friday’s style “Big Share” Platter

4. Greens – ?!?!?! Vegetables of some sort that could not be told apart because they were smothered in a fishy anchovy vinaigrette….. why?!

5. Chopped salad – Crispy vegetables (Thank God for that…) that were once again coated in an overpowering vinaigrette with more of that overpowering Colman’s mustard. It was impossible to taste any of the vegetables…all I could taste was the mustard.

6. Mac & Cheese – I have to say that this was the only good thing we ate….but how hard is it to make Mac & Cheese? Every mother in the US makes it for her kids. Mac & Cheese even comes in a box at the supermarket where there are aisles dedicated to the cheesy concoction. Should I applaud a restaurant that charges 8 pounds for a portion of pasta + cheese + breadcrumbs that I can make at home?!

We didn’t dare order more. I finished my Makers Mark (bourbon), paid the bill and went on my way, deciding that it really didn’t matter how cool, or hip, or speakeasy-ish the place was, I just wouldn’t ever go back because the food just wasn’t up to par. Nothing to do with the amazing food you can get in New York.

Spuntino – 61 Rupert Street W1D 7PW, London

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7 thoughts on “Spuntino

  1. CriticalMass says:

    then its up to you to bring them forth, dont say things like “…false advertising by critics that have probably been payed a good amount of cash under the table to give their “honest” opinion….”
    because it sounds snide and bitter, not like an opinion but a dislike for something deeper than the food.
    i agree, the food isnt of the highest standard by any means, but the price for a soho diner that is welcoming, warm and fun is very attractive. the food is interesting, different and affordable. the service is always polite and giving (something of a rarity these days) and both of those things combined is not only seldom but miraculous in my book.

    • The Critical Eye says:

      i completely agree about the staff, they were all polite and a lot of fun to chat with. the atmosphere is also inviting as a place to go hang out, have a couple of drinks and have some laughs with friends….but since all is good except the food, why don’t they just call it a bar?
      the deeper dislike u mentioned is directly linked to the countless reviews ive read on places, from bars to restaurants to museums, that did not live up to their expectations in any shape or form. my heart drops every time i visit one of these places and i see nothing of what i expected, just to realise that once again the review was in fact, highly misleading.
      if the queen was to visit ur house, im sure you would clean up and try to show her a good time right? don’t you feel it’s sort of the same when a critic goes to eat at a restaurant? if i go to a homeless shelter-turned-restaurant and I’m made to feel like ‘the man’ by getting the royal treatment, I’m pretty sure my judgement as a whole would be clouded. Everyday people that read the reviews won’t get that experience/treatment, so why not judge a place for what it is instead of giving the ‘thumbs up’ just coz my drinks were comped the night before.

  2. CriticalMass says:

    hmmm, one bad review and a teeny handful of miserable faceless associates does not exactly override the opinion of the masses i feel.

    • The Critical Eye says:

      what do you think the opinion of the masses is based on? do you think its actually the taste of the food or the hype that has been built around it? i think we live in a time where the public should be more selective and intelligent about certain food choices they make. there are incredible places out there, with amazing food, that no1 knows about because they haven’t been credited with false advertising by critics that have probably been payed a good amount of cash under the table to give their “honest” opinion….

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