Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Bocca di Lupo and Gelupo Gelataria reviews - two Italian sisters in the heart of Soho

Address: 12 Archer Street,
London W1D 7BB
Tel: 020 7734 2223
Nearest DLR station: Leicester Square

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £30 pp (for full portion)
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: ***
Service: ****
Ambience: ****
I was at the West End the other day pondering my lunch options before the play. I recalled that Gelupo Gelataria which has received rave reviews was just round the corner from where I was but I can't very well just have gelato for lunch can I?

The solution to my dilemma presented itself in the form of Bocca di Lupo, Gelupo's sister restaurant just opposite Gelupo's, which as I discovered later has earned itself a name as the trendy Italian restaurant in Soho. Lunch and desert, I had got it all sorted and was rather pleased with myself.


Bocca is small and cozy with a very stylish yet welcoming interior with snazzy lighting and tasteful full length artworks on the walls. None of the safe but bland corporate look here. Even the decor of the washrooms usually a much neglected feature in restaurants was well thought out as evidenced by the culinary equations on the mirrors and the sandy tiled walls which give the washroom a warm Mediterranean feel. In fact a customer was so taken with the washroom that she was gushing about it to her server.The open kitchen is right at the front of the restaurant and if you so fancy you can be seated on one of the bar stools at the counter and see the chefs at work on your upcoming meal. I think a similar concept is deployed at now defunct Eastside Inn and thought it was brilliant entertainment especially for lone diners.

I was very happy with the service at Bocca which was excellent throughout. I was greeted warmly on arrival and shown to a table at the back of the restaurant. I was rather surprised but thankful that I could have a table so quickly given that I did not have reservations and it was after all a Saturday.


Bocca has an ala carte menu as well as a separate lunch and pre theatre menu. I opted for linguine with clams, mussels, langoustine and prawns with little tomatoes at £12, and was rather pleased with my choice when it arrived. The broth was intensely flavoured with the seafood and was suitably rich.

If however you are one who does not like to get your hands dirty this dish is probably not for you as one has to prise the shells of the langoustine open to get at the meat. The lady serving my table thoughtfully brought a bowl of water with lemon for me to cleanse my hands right at the outset of the meal so clawing at the one langoustine on the plate is fully expected. I am not sure whether it is worth the effort though. The meat is so puny I can barely taste it. All the flavour has probably gone to the sauce. At 12 quid for a small portion (and 24 quid for the large portion), I was also rather disappointed to see just the one langoustine. I won't describe myself as a big eater but I would have starved if I had that alone for lunch. Thankfully there was a complimentary starter of savoury and crusty bread accompanied by olives and olive oil so I was satisfactorily filled up by the time I left to find my desert opposite.

Bocca di Lupo on Urbanspoon

Address: 7 Archer Street,
London W1D 7AU
Tel: 020 7287 5555
Nearest DLR station: Leicester Square

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £3 for two scoops
Service charge: N.A.
Taste: ***
Service: ****
Ambience: N.A.
I was very pleased to find that Gelupo Gelateria had a wide variety of flavours of gelato and sorbets on offer. Other than the usual suspects such as chocolate, they have interesting flavours like honey and avocado. The staff was very friendly offering me a taste of the honey and avocado sorbet before I made my decision. While it was refreshing I thought the honey overwhelmed whatever there was of the avocado in the sorbet. For 3 quid, you can opt for any 2 flavours in a cone or cup. I decided to go for the traditional flavours of chocolate and expresso (which interestingly is milk free and also available as a desert at Bocca). While the chocolate and expresso gelato taste marvellous individually, together they were not really good bedmates but that is really down to a poor choice on my part.

Other than gelato and sorbets, Gelupo offers Italian produce in the deli right at the back. I spotted some interesting confectionery in the fridge and made a mental note to try those on my next visit. The place was teeming with people when I left so while the shop has some stools by the counter having your gelato on the go might make for a more enjoyable experience unless it is winter in which case I can't imagine why you have gelato and gelupo probably has to rely on it's deli products and hot drinks which it offers to survive.

Gelupo on Urbanspoon

TT, who goes around London discovering bits of London, is a regular contributor to London Chow and Singaporean in London.

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Anonymous said...

i'm actually dropping by Bocca di Lupo for dinner this Sat for a leaving do, what a coincidence! Will make a note not to order the langoustine since I have a rather voracious appetite!

C K said...

@Pleasure Monger,
Why not go for the full portion instead? I myself have not been to Bocca yet. But TT was telling me that she will surely be up for a return visit. Will probably tag along the next time round.

Tell us what you think of it after this Sat, will ye?

TomEats said...

Honey and avocado!? - sounds a touch too interesting and probably good choice to avoid it!