DOWN the back streets of neon-lit Soho lies this little slice of downtown New Yoik.
Spuntino is the sister restaurant of da Polpo (inventors of my favourite zucchini and pesto beetroot salads), and I ventured there on Sunday afternoon with BF, Julian, and friend, Tara (‘The happy triple,’ she likes to call us).
Based on Rupert Street, it’s a hop, strip and a jump from Sex Alley — but blink and you’ll miss it: it doesn’t possess much in the way of signage and its exterior is murky brown and kind of scuzzy. Basically, it’s ruddy cool.
Inside it’s cosy, buzzy, and stylish in that ‘whaa? This old thing?’ way. There’s a square bar which sits 25 people around three sides, and a little “snug” that seats about eight. When this place opened not so long ago I read the owners bought lots of their fixtures and fittings from salvage yards in Brooklyn and so the place is decked out in lots of lovely cracked tiles, distressed tin panels and industrial-looking lights. The “snug” meanwhile is tiled in a prison-chic shade of pale green (I’ve never been inside, but this is how I imagine the colour scheme of slammers). It works. I wanted to eat in there a bit, it would have been like eating in Instagram.
From the “modern Italian-American” menu. We ordered this little lot.
We shared four mini sliders — prawn for me, lamb and mint for T, and pulled pork and beef and marrowbone for J — two lots of shoestring fries (which were tasty but a bit more like curly crisps than chips), a zucchini and chilli pizzetta, and a bottle of Moretti each. And lots of French’s yellow mustard. Must buy some of this. Mmmm.
Another point worth mentioning: while this place might be “achingly hip” — I always think of that traumatic sensation I get in my hip flexers (whatever they are) in yoga, when I see those words — anyway, the staff don’t do that thing of being a bit rude and sniffy. Yes, they all sport quiffs, tattoos and 50s headscarves but… they are really sweet and friendly!
For dessert, we went and watched Killer Joe at the nearby Curzon cinema. With hindsight would rather have had Spuntino’s peanut and jelly pudding.