Trip Report: Bocca Di Lupo, J Sheekey, Restaurant at the Tate Modern & The Golden Hind Marylebone
This trip to London afforded me a limited number of opportunities to dine out however I wanted to report back on some spots I chose based on past buzz on this board:
BOCCA DI LUPO
Somehow I’d never heard of this lovely Italian eatery before reading reports here on Chowhound so despite not having reservations, our party of two, determined to eat here, decided just to show up late afternoon and hope for the best. Luck was on our side and we were accommodated.
To anyone looking for a wonderful, warm spot to enjoy some sensational Italian food in London, I’d say…do come here, the food at Bocca di Lupo is top notch. Service was spotty. The host was engaging and accommodating. To his credit, despite our lack of reservations, we felt he went out of his way to ensure our wait was comfortable and, that we were kept up-to-date on the status of our table. On the other hand, our server was a big disappointment. She barely spoke to us. While other servers checked back with their patrons to see how they were doing, ours was nowhere to be seen. She was already dashing from our table with our food order when we had to call her back to order wine. While other servers replaced silverware by bringing it to the table covered with a linen serviette, ours just tossed down a couple of forks and then did the same w the knives we had to ask for. While other servers wiped down the table between courses, ours was about to plunk down our dinner plates atop the crumbs and other bits and pieces displaced from our antipasti plates. When we asked if she could clean this up, she did so begrudgingly and, to our dismay, just swept the mess (she half-heartedly caught in her one and only swipe) onto the floor!
Thankfully the food made up for our server’s failures. For antipasti we chose a selection of the Fritti Romani. (some captured in the photo below). The standout was the Suppli – arancini stuffed w tomato & mozzarella that’s encased in the crispiest, most delectable crust we’ve ever tasted. Though the olive part of the olive stuffed with minced pork and veal was undetectable, the dish itself was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The sage/anchovy combo was sensational and highly recommended. For our main course we both chose the orecchiette w with 'nduja, red onion, tomato & rocket and oh what a choice that was. Though we both fretted that the “large-sized” portion would not be enough to satiate us, we needn’t have worried, as it was fabulous. The sausage was perfectly seasoned, not too spicy and perfectly offset w the sweetness of the tomatoes and onion and the bitterness of the rocket. The pasta was served piping hot and the orecchitte were cooked perfectly. Another highlight here is the wine list. I’d love to go back sometime when I have more time to spend. We chose the Nabucco Monte Delle Vigne Barbera/Merlot, Emilia Romagna, 2008 and it was simply outstanding.
I’ve been hoping to dine here for some time and luckily we were able to get a reservation on short notice this time around. Three in our party and everyone was delighted with the quality of their meals. Starters were the potted shrimps, Dublin bay prawns & the crab bisque. We all tried a taste of the potted shrimps and agreed this was a tasty dish. Evidently the bisque was rich and flavourful and served steaming hot. The prawns were sweet and delicious. Mains included the Shrimp & Scallop burger which was reported to be excellent and surprisingly juicy, the Fish Pie…sublime! and the curry I’m told was nicely seasoned however the guest didn’t feel it was good value for the investment. No one had room for dessert. We later noticed our bill included a “cover charge” of £2/head …no idea what that was for! Service was prompt and attentive without being obtrusive. I’d definitely return here and would especially be interested in making a meal of some of the fresh seafood choices.
RESTAURANT AT THE TATE MODERN
As reported elsewhere, the view here is magnificent. We also appreciated that this gallery had a full-service restaurant vs some other museums and galleries whose eateries are self-service. The food here was good though not especially memorable. The room is huge and most servers have their hands full w the number of tables they seem to be covering. On top of this you have patrons allowing their children to race freely about the space causing servers to weave amidst them and it’s actually a bit of a miracle that folks get served at all!! For starters we went with the flavourful (however lukewarm) fennel and potato soup. The Cornish crab was quite tasty however the portion was fairly small. For our main courses we had the sirloin which did arrive cooked as ordered albeit a smaller sized portion than might have been expected. The other entrée was a scallop dish that was just meh. Neither hot nor especially flavourful this dish disappointed. The applesauce was actually cold and just didn’t seem to work with the other flavour components. Nonetheless this proved to be a nice place to take a break from our Thames walk and we didn’t regret our choice.
THE GOLDEN HIND – MARYLEBONE
What this place lacks in atmosphere, it more than makes up for in terms of quality of the food and the brisk and efficient service. I don’t love chips so I opted for the haddock (sadly, no halibut on the menu) and mushy peas. Both were sensational. The batter on the fish was light and crispy. The batter literally just shattered beneath my fork much like the topping on a crème brulee. I did think the batter would have benefitted from some seasoning but perhaps that’s just a matter of personal preference. Though the electric green colour of the peas had me a bit concerned when the dish arrived, I needn’t have worried as the flavour and texture was spot on and simply delicious. The meal was capped off with a perfect cup of tea. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever been served a hotter cuppa and I was in tea heaven. This is a real gem and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for some proper fish & chips in London.
Thanks so much to the hounds that post here, it was fun reading through your reviews and comments. You inspired me to try these new places.
Apologies for the poor quality of the cell phone photos.
If you’re interested, I also shared some “food-to-go” experiences at markets and food halls here:
I went to the Tate Modern restaurant recently and has a surprisingly excellent rib-eye steak with fairly good chips (they were the really thick type -- not my best).
Service was a joke, but drank tons -- im sure my subsequent obnoxiousness more than made up for his rudeness.
Golden Hinde is always great -- funny your aversion to chips guaranteed your meal was good as their chips are sort of their weak point. I agree they need seasoning in their batter (just salt and pepper); last time I went found it a bit bland until dousing in vinegar and salt.
An excellent report - thank you very much for coming back to tell us how you ate. It's a shame about the disappointing experience at the Tate but it sounds like you had a great time.
I really must get to Bocca do Lupo, your report has inspired me. What a shame about the service though.
Seems like you did well to get around the markets as well - I assume you found some time to do some work.