Bocca di Lupo
This venue hit the headlines when it opened in 2008 as the latest cool Italian restaurant to hit Soho’s backstreet theatreland– and it’s certainly managed to retain that zeitgeist vibe with its buzzy atmosphere and emphasis on seasonal, regional ingredients. But in keeping with its Italian roots, it doesn’t feel pretentious or overly trendy, like some ‘it’ places do.
The long bar, which includes part of the kitchen servery, has place settings along it, encouraging guests to really get involved with the food. Similarly, downstairs in the private dining room, they have just introduced a new option to continue this hands on approach for guests holding a private event. The long wooden tables, which seat up to 20 in one wide oblong, have a smaller table – or extended wooden tray – on top of the length of the main table. Depending on which menu is chosen this can be filled with platters either with a seafood selection on crushed ice, or a meat feast. Think Ottolenghi meets Conran crustacean display. The room itself is spacious and feels relaxed and light, despite its basement setting. Large white overhead lights give the room a near-daylight feel, while warmth is provided by standard lamps in each corner of the room. Bare floorboards and wooden tables are complemented by aubergine walls with an attractive hand painted wall paper feature, which on later inspection appear to be monkeys flying with white hankies. Mid brown leather bucket chairs and armless chairs are comfortable and designed for laid back eating. A florist provides ‘natural looking’ flowers as standard, although these can be upgraded/changed if required.
There’s an ipod docking system for guests to bring their own music and even a separate loo for the private room, ensuring no long queues. The room is available from noon, but can be used for corporate bonding/team building and relaxed meetings where the sharing platter menus are especially popular. Menus start at £35 a head, rising to £90 a head for the feasts. Children’s menus are available on request.
Cakes can be made to order for special occasions including ‘gelato cakes’ – any three flavours of ice cream layered in cake form – from the sister-deli across the road. There’s no room hire, but minimum spend in the private dining room at lunch is £750, while for dinner it’s £1,000 excluding 12.5% service charge.