Just a stone’s throw away from my office popped up Popolo. With new openings on the increase around the City and in particular, expanding into the East, there are no shortage of great places for a bite to eat. Whilst Popolo is not reinventing the art of Italian dining as a whole, what it offers is a quick, informal but wholesome dining experience.
For our quick lunchtime visit we were the first in the door. The team where still polishing off their set-up, Chef’s finishing their mis en place and we reveled in it’s shiny brand newness. The layout, reminds me of Barrafina. Bar top dining with a voyeuristic view of the Chef brigade as they rustle up gorgeous dishes from a small and well thought out menu.
I am a fan of bar top foodie places as it lends itself well to solo dining, a pastime I actively champion. You may not always have a partner or group of friends with you, so it is important to feel comfortable and this is one of those places. I think at some stage I have to do that “Guide to solo dining” which I have been mulling over for ages. Anyway, I digress, back to Popolo. With these things, there is always a background, a curated press release of sorts to wet your appetite. I like to go in cold turkey when I can. That way I have no expectation and am not influenced by others. You will see that in my not so complimentary review of Padella which the whole world and it’s mother seems to dig. Personally, I think Popolo poops all over Padella.
For our express visit mid week, we opted for a starter of pimento padron (a little more Spanish than Italian) as well as some fried coated olives and morita chilli with labne. For our main courses, I had ravioli with ricotta and sage butter, from the specials my companion had pappardelle ragu. Both were great, in particular the gorgeous beef portion of ragu and perfectly al dente pastas.
Popolo is definitely be on my list for when I want an Italian lunch.
26 Rivington Street
London EC2A 3DU