Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer Street, W1D 7BB
WLC Rank : 33
Glass from : £ 5.20 (125 ml)
BEST FORA safe haven for celebrities.
Authentic Italian dishes and wines
Art rich walls
“When we can do nothing else, we can drink,” says Jacob Kenedy of the art-rich, pink and putty-coloured Soho staple specialising in “the obscure and the delicious highlights of food and wine from all across Italy's 20 regions.”
“We’re the same restaurant as when we opened, though the wine list has evolved,” says chef, writer and restaurateur, Jacob Kenedy of Soho staple, Bocca di Lupo, which he runs with fellow Moro alumnus, Victor Hugo.
Built to be “timeless”, beyond the signature brick lettering of the frontage the restaurant stars art by Kenedy’s mother, Haide Becker, including a slender pipefish beside the Turkish marble kitchen counter, and a portrait of sister, Rachel against the flattering putty-coloured walls which “makes people shine.” Meanwhile, the dramatic terrazzo floor is modelled on one appearing in Don’t Look Now. “Film director, Nicolas Roeg was the father of one of my school friends,” notes Kenedy.
Of the re-designed wine list which, arranged seasonally, “showcases traditional winemaking values,” Kenedy, who “grew up in an edible garden,” has bravely “cut off the fat,” having re-tasted the entire selection with sommeliers, Phil and Michael.
Devised by Kenedy, expect “direct – and some might say gritty” regionally-attributable dishes which could include filleted anchovies beneath “a sea of green” of micro-chopped parsley and garlic, “which I discovered in a Genoese wine bar.” This partners well with the example of smoky, rich, rediscovered Timorasso (La Colombera). Also worth trying for its masterful simplicity is the whole round lettuce, “served with its bum cut off” to allow leaves to fall away, and dressed with lemon. Follow on with stewed tripe with Pecorino and tomato, the latter of which Kenedy notes, “is a bitch to pair wine with even though everyone talks of artichokes being bad.” A sure-footed vinous collaborator with this is the rested, depthful, gripping Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva from Praesidium, or Barbera Ottone San Silvestro. Culminate with the colourful Sicilian cassata cake with a duo of white and barrel-aged San Leonardo grappas.
Note, incidentally, the BYO truffle menu, perhaps including tagliolini al limone, or roast partridge with polenta and bagna cauda, for which you can either supply your own black or white diamonds of the earth or purchase them from the Gelupo gelateria opposite, which is also in Kenedy’s ownership.
Kenedy purposely avoided rolling out the Bocca di Lupo brand, “because I love this restaurant and didn’t want to spoil it.” He describes it as being, “from the heart” and indeed, “it’s rare we get a table where everyone is new to us… A table is made by the people at it.”
“For better and worse, I have I think never worked so hard,” says Jacob Kenedy of the lockdown, and the continuing Bocca di Lupo at home service which he hopes will become “a serious resource for people buying Italian wines in the future” with or without food, including “specific pairing suggestions.”
Kenedy is also a publican, running Islington’s Plaquemine Lock pub, rich in Bourbons and beers, such as Cosmic Warrior pale ale, wine, including Weingut Nelles Spätburgunder and Benedictine. “I went from being a wino to drinking too much beer with the jazzed-up Cajun/Creole dishes which brings great cheer…”
By Douglas Blyde.