I went to Bocca di Lupo ages ago, way before I ever moved to London and since we have been here (almost two and a half years), I have been meaning to go back, but for one reason or another, I always had to cancel my reservations. Every time we went to Gelupo, their gelato place across the street, it reminded me that I wanted to make a booking and go back, but reservations are never easy to get, unless planned with a lot of notice.
So, when my mom booked her trip to visit us, and we bought tickets to a play around the corner, I knew it was a good opportunity to finally return.
We were in Alba two weeks ago and had lots of good pasta, primarily smothered in gorgeous white truffles. I didn’t realise that Bocca di Lupo would have a lot of the Piedmont specialties on their menu, such as tajarin and Agnolotti del Plin. They also have a BYOT menu this time of the year – bring your own truffles. And if you didn’t know, and don’t usually carry white truffles in your bag, they sell them at gelupo.
What we ate:
Radish, celeriac, pomegranate, pecorino salad, truffle dressing: the radishes and celeriac are sliced thinly and tossed in subtle truffle vinaigrette and topped with generous parmesan shavings. The pomegranate seeds were surprisingly pale, but still flavoursome. A good and unique salad.
Rigatoni with ewe’s milk ricotta & guanciale: my mom ordered this and loved it, but I found it a bit heavy as the sauce is primarily ricotta and cream. The guanciale was nice and crispy but could have been more abundant.
Agnolotti del Plin: we ate a lot of this dish in Alba (meaning literally in the Piedmontese language – “pinched” agnolotti) but Bocca di Lupo’s version was in a sage and butter sauce, which overwhelmed the beautiful little pasta and hid the meaty porky flavours. In Alba they were tossed in a light sauce made from roasting the meats that were used for the filling, which we preferred.
Tagliatelle Bolognese: I should have asked our lovely waiter Alessandra what meats were in their Bolognese, but what matters is that the sauce was abundant and meaty and they sprinkled a lot of parmesan on top. It was very good, but to me the pasta could have been cooked for a few minutes less.
Truffled pork & foie gras sausage with polenta: when Stewart sees pork and sausage, his eyes immediately fixate on the item and he can rarely resist ordering. I am glad he did as the sausage was really tasty and the foie gras added some richness. The polenta was good but slightly bland.
Bonet: another Piedmont specialty that we had tried, and even though we were not crazy for it, the Bocca di Lupo version advertised chocolate, coffee, amaretti, caramel and rum pudding which we found hard to resist. I wasn’t convinced at first bite, but as the almond/marzipan like flavours from the amaretti hit me, I couldn’t stop eating it and devoured the entire thing. Stewart ended up consuming my bicerin instead as he doesn’t like flavours that remind him of marzipan in any way. I was never a fan of flan like desserts, but this was richer, denser and delicious, and hard to go wrong with all those perfect ingredients combined.
Bicerin: when we were in Alba, my friends Oli and Gigi told us we that had to stop in Torino for gelato, and Bicerin, a regional specialty of coffee, hot chocolate and cream. Sadly we had to choose as we had no time to do both and opted for gelato. But, when we saw it on the Bocca di Lupo menu, we had to try it. This is 97% hot dark rich chocolate, almost like you melted a bar into a cup, with a subtle hint of coffee in the background and cream on top. The chocolate was intense and we could barely drink/eat half of it, but it would have been a good option in lieu of a dessert.
In sum: tasty food and our friendly waitress was fantastic. (A great Italian accent never hurts.) A great spot for a quick pre-theatre bite at decent prices. (The small pastas were under £10 and the servings were quite generous.)
Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer St, London W1D 7BB
+4420 7734 2223