This time last year I recall reading a piece by Jay Rayner on lunchtime dining and how with Covid restrictions looming the working lunch as we knew it was set to become a thing of the past. Well, my experience today felt a little like the good times were back.
I ventured to the new Italian round the corner from our office in Farringdon with a couple of work colleagues and The Evening Standard’s David Ellis to discuss our current campaign. We went to Russell Norman’s new Florence inspired gaff situated a gnocchi’s throw from his old Venice inspired gaff. Polpo is currently being unceremoniously gutted as his new venture, Trattoria Brutto bursts into life.
We had a fab meal of deep-fried doughy cuddles, rabbit ragu pasta and a Florentine T-bone steak all washed down with a Super Tuscan which name escapes me but was recommended by our sommelier from the excellent and reasonably priced wine list.
It’s a charming place with a homely vibe and we bumped into some industry friends including food critic and StreetSmart ambassador Richard Vines and StreetSmart top fundraiser Ewan Venters previously of Fortnum & Mason. Their presence made me feel we had chosen to dine at an important moment in the restaurant’s early life.
Just as nice was chatting to jovial neighbouring diners who were keen to share their excitement at lunching out again. Convivial is the word I thought of as we tucked into an old school Tiramisu and Russell was on hand to explain his concept, the design touches and how successful the launch had obviously been.
He’s even added a special cocktail to the menu to raise funds for StreetSmart – A gin, Cynar and fizz concoction that carries the name The Clerkenwell Boy – Cheers to that and Cin Cin to Brutto.