Polpo at The Ape and Bird

Life is a combination of magic and pasta” – Federico Fellini

And food at Polpo, the cornerstone of Russel Norman’s restaurant empire, is the perfect combination of both.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Unfortunately, that’s not a very well kept secret, and if you combine this with the fact that Polpo is a strictly-no-booking sort of place, getting a table can be a bit of a nightmare.

Located right on Cambridge Circus (aka THE spot for any pre-/post-theatre dinner), Polpo at The Ape & Bird is no exception, but the restaurant itself being quite big, it is still the least stupidly busy of the lot.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

With shabby walls and worn-just-the-right-way furniture, the place itself is the perfect hybrid of a gastropub and a hipster den, and consequently an absolute Instagram dream.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

But the food, the food is what everybody comes back for.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

The menu focuses on Italian-influenced sharing plates, with a wide selection of both signature and seasonal dishes.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

From the Cicheti section, we couldn’t resist the Arancini (and neither should you!)

Breaded, golden-fried balls of risotto goodness, those are simply too good not to get!

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Followed by Polpo’s signature dish: Pork & fennel meatballs in tomato sauce.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + WhiskyPolpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

A homely take on the humble meatball, with heaps of fennel seeds and a super silky, slightly spicy tomato sauce.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Italian comfort food at its very best!

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

If you’re as much of a carb lover as I am, the Pizzetta, cooked on site in a wood-fire oven, will definitely catch your eyes.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

There are a few option to choose from, including this Spinach, parmesan & soft egg one.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Which obviously, I couldn’t pass off.

Just look at that ‘runny egg yolk’ excited face of mine!

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

If I’m being honest though, this is nowhere near the best pizza in London (which is to be found either here or there).

The dough wasn’t quite ‘dough-y’ enough for Polpo to have any claim on that trophy, but the topping combination was really tasty, if only a bit un-seasoned.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

The carb-party continued on with a plate of Crab & chilli linguine.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Thin, silky ribbons of pasta, smothered in the most delightfully buttery sauce, and plenty of big chunks of fresh crab meat.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

The sort of dish you’ll never forgetti.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird 26Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

And yet more carbs (see the recurring theme here?): Fried gnocchi, rainbow chard pesto & young pecorino

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + WhiskyPolpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

A beautifully vibrant way to highlight those soft & crunchy little pillows of potato joy!

And for dessert, all the classics.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Pannacotta with strawberry and basil.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

And, of course, Tiramisu.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Words can’t quite espresso how good that tiramisu is! So you’ll just have to go and check it out for yourself!

Polpo at The Ape and Bird142 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8HJ

PIN FOR LATER:

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Share: