Spuntino has been on my to-try list for ages, and what better time to go for it than on my birthday weekend? It’s been getting rave reviews since it opened last year for its speakeasy-come-diner brand of American comfort food, and the length of the queues to get a space in the tiny 25-seater restaurant are almost as famous as the grub. But don’t be put off by the miminal-bordering-on-pretentious website: this place might be achingly hip but the staff were extremely friendly, in a laid-back kind of way. On Sunday lunchtime, we only had a short wait to seat our party of five (including my aunt and 13-year-old cousin) at the bar.
The menu is full of tempting tasting plates designed for sharing. Amongst the meaty sliders and steaks, there are loads of veggie options so I had quite a tough time choosing what to pick. Given I was still full from my previous night’s birthday dinner at Pollen Street Social, I went straight for the must-have truffle egg toast, along with a side of fried eggplant. My sister ordered steak & eggs, my cousin got a cheeseburger and Josh went for mac ‘n’ cheese with a side of shoestring fries.
Eggplant chips with fennel mayo was amazing: crunchy and soft inside with the aniseed-y dip providing an interesting flavour contrast (whoops – we ate most of them before I got to photograph them!).
What was described on the menu as just ‘Egg and soldiers’ turned out to be an almost Heston Blumenthal-ish visual trick, the egg having been soft-boiled then de-shelled and rolled in a crunchy edible deep-fried wrapper. Very clever.
Mac and cheese was gorgeously decadent: creamy and gooey, served sizzling in a skillet with strong Gruyère flavour punched up with leeks and mustard. One portion (£9) was enough to share, along with a tangle of crispy shoestring fries to mop up the sauce.
The truffle egg toast was a dreamy combo of thick toasted bread slathered with melty cheese, with a pool of egg yolk in the centre, all generously scented with truffle. Luckily I just about had room for pud, a brown sugar cheesecake with ‘drunken prunes’, which tasted deliciously creamy and adult with the tang of booze.
Everyone in my party loved their food, and my cousin was asking when they could come again! I’m already planning to go back very soon and sample more of the menu, perhaps in the evening so I can try a cocktail from their extensive list too. At roughly £20 a head for 2/3 dishes and a soft drink each it’s good value for a slice of American comfort food done really right.