Pollo Bar

Who? La Porchetta Pollo Bar – often referred to simply as Pollo Bar

What? Authentic Italian

Where? 20 Old Compton St, London W1D 4TW – ie Soho

Why am I telling you this? Because you need to know. (Catchphrase courtesy of the Beckapedia from Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour)

My parents have been taking me to the Pollo bar all my life. As a baby, I’d just be bounced on knees, but as soon as I was eating proper food, I was hooked.

The decor, menu & drink selection have changed little (if at all) in 27 years. Pizza, pasta, al forno (eg parmigiana di melanzane) – exactly what you’d expect from such an establishment. What you might not expect from a Central London restaurant is very good value, loads of “cuchina  povera” options (making it a great place for vegetarians) and actual Italian Peroni (the domestic product, not the export).

My most recent visit was last Saturday and, as usual, we had to queue to get a table. I had a tagliatelle-like pasta con fiore e brocolli. There’s so little to the dish: pasta, oil, chilli, garlic, broccoli. It’s the simplicity I enjoy – it leaves room for the ingredients to speak for themselves.

With pasta ribbons escaping my mouth, oil getting everywhere and a tiny bit of chilli burn on the sides of my tongue, I couldn’t have been happier.

We had the Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo as accompaniment, and that bottle on that day was pretty average (not much oomph). There was no room for pudding after. In fact, my dad had half of his risotto ai funghi (with added chilli because he’s a spice fiend) portioned up in a doggy bag to take away.

One of those coincidences: we left the restaurant in search of transport home. A gentlemen was begging for change towards his dinner fund right nearby: he too was vegetarian, in need of a hot meal. Dad’s risotto, still very warm, was gratefully received.

I wholeheartedly recommend this eatery for lunch or dinner, in any situation from large gathering for a celebration all the way down to a date.It’s just good food, served without any affectation, at a fair price.

Here endeth my first post as “cfrew and hobbies”. Thanks for reading!

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