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Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts)

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Tucked away in London's edgy Soho district, Polpo is one of the most irrepressibly buzzing restaurants in town. Critics and food aficionados have been flocking to this understated bacaro where Russell Norman serves up small dishes-think tapas-from the back streets of Venice. A far cry from the tourist-trap eateries of the famous floating city, this kind of cooking is unfus Tucked away in London's edgy Soho district, Polpo is one of the most irrepressibly buzzing restaurants in town. Critics and food aficionados have been flocking to this understated bacaro where Russell Norman serves up small dishes-think tapas-from the back streets of Venice. A far cry from the tourist-trap eateries of the famous floating city, this kind of cooking is unfussy, innovative, and exuberantly delicious. The 120 recipes in this book range from salads and snacks to small main courses, drinks, and desserts, including asparagus with Parmesan and anchovy butter; warm duck salad with beets and walnuts; crispy baby pizzas with zucchini, mint and chilli; scallops with lemon and peppermint; soft-shell crab in Parmesan batter with fennel; fizzy bellinis and glasses of bright orange spritz; panacotta with poached rhubarb; and warm autumn fruits with amaretto cream. The recipes are accompanied by luminescent photography within a dazzling design, including a distinctive stripped-away spine to reveal colorful Japanese stitching--a feature that also allows the book to lie open flat on a chef's workstation. Polpo captures the unfrequented corners, bustling bacari, and sublime waterways of Venice as they've never been seen before.


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Tucked away in London's edgy Soho district, Polpo is one of the most irrepressibly buzzing restaurants in town. Critics and food aficionados have been flocking to this understated bacaro where Russell Norman serves up small dishes-think tapas-from the back streets of Venice. A far cry from the tourist-trap eateries of the famous floating city, this kind of cooking is unfus Tucked away in London's edgy Soho district, Polpo is one of the most irrepressibly buzzing restaurants in town. Critics and food aficionados have been flocking to this understated bacaro where Russell Norman serves up small dishes-think tapas-from the back streets of Venice. A far cry from the tourist-trap eateries of the famous floating city, this kind of cooking is unfussy, innovative, and exuberantly delicious. The 120 recipes in this book range from salads and snacks to small main courses, drinks, and desserts, including asparagus with Parmesan and anchovy butter; warm duck salad with beets and walnuts; crispy baby pizzas with zucchini, mint and chilli; scallops with lemon and peppermint; soft-shell crab in Parmesan batter with fennel; fizzy bellinis and glasses of bright orange spritz; panacotta with poached rhubarb; and warm autumn fruits with amaretto cream. The recipes are accompanied by luminescent photography within a dazzling design, including a distinctive stripped-away spine to reveal colorful Japanese stitching--a feature that also allows the book to lie open flat on a chef's workstation. Polpo captures the unfrequented corners, bustling bacari, and sublime waterways of Venice as they've never been seen before.

30 review for Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    As Polpo is absolutely my favourite restaurant of the last year (and a bit), of course I was so excited about their cookbook. Other fans of their food will not be disappointed, I found many dishes I recognised from the menu that I can now recreate at home. The only thing I was very disappointed not to see were the delicious chickpea, spinach and ricotta (non-)meatballs, which I'd been planning to cook as a treat for my mother, who loved them when I took her to Polpo. However, one of the main rea As Polpo is absolutely my favourite restaurant of the last year (and a bit), of course I was so excited about their cookbook. Other fans of their food will not be disappointed, I found many dishes I recognised from the menu that I can now recreate at home. The only thing I was very disappointed not to see were the delicious chickpea, spinach and ricotta (non-)meatballs, which I'd been planning to cook as a treat for my mother, who loved them when I took her to Polpo. However, one of the main reasons that I love Polpo is because it's a 'small plate' place, where you mix several dishes between everyone. But while I love eating out that way, it's certainly not very easy to recreate at home. I have managed to put together mezze meals before with the help of a friend or two, but it's always rather stressful. So while I'm very happy to try out a lot of the recipes in this book, I think I'll enjoy leaving the complete Polpo experience to the experts... (Any one who liked this cookbook should check out Bocca: Cookbook - another very good London trendy Italian restaurant cookbook.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Stunning book design - courtesy of the UK design firm Praline - gives this book an incredible boost. An essential cookbook that deserves a spot on every kitchen shelf, especially for those who not only have a love of inventive book design, but for everyone out there with an interest northern Italian cooking, focusing on simple, fresh ingredients, and the liveliness of quintessentially Italian flavors.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    Gorgeous, sumptuous. So many incredible recipes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matt Mckenzie

    The food is excellent and the philosophy great - a celebration of the amazing local cheap food to be found off the main tourist trails in Venice. I visited one of their London restaurants, however, and was appalled at the high prices 7.50 for an Aperol Spritz for example. The bill for two came to over 70.00 and all this from exponents of cheap street food. Outrageous.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    Super yummy and easy recipes - with lots of delicious photos. It's the whole concept of only a few ingredients. Russell Norman introduces each recipe with witty comments. He also has a lot of Italian nonna moments - like pour a couple glugs of olive oil. Then he's super strict with the portions in the perfect negroni. This book makes me want to go to Venice!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn Reding

    Was lucky enough to score a copy of this before it was released in the States (thanks to some wonderful friends). Really excellent cookbook for food that is representative of Venetian cuisine. Gorgeous photos...fantastic ingredients. Now holds top honors on my (heavily weighted) cookbook shelf.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Beautiful Venetian cookbook (exposed binding! lush photographs of seafood) with accessible recipes (cod with lentils, butternut squash with prosciutto and ricotta). As the intro says: “There is no show-off cooking or complex technical artistry.” Just a chance to indulge in the fantasy of Mediterranean life (while cooking).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A simply beautiful cookbook. Exposed binding, and quite wonderful photography. I read it like a novel and I'm now looking forward to getting in the kitchen! Simple Venetian food, some recipes with as few as four ingredients. It's about easy cooking and the enjoyment of the food.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janey Bennett

    The book is beautiful and lovingly produced. It is a pleasure to handle, with its lovely binding. The recipes are fun, but the book is even more fun. It makes me smile.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elly

    Looking forward to try out the recipes!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carlotta

    Sono felice che questo libro abbia successo. I Bacari sono in via di estinzione ed é una tragedia!!! Che bella sorpresa trovare tutto questo a Londra :-)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Nothing too surprisingly new here, though the recipes all look good.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Gorgeous cookbook! A meal in itself, just to hold it and look at the illustrations. As food porn goes, this is a winner.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vuk Trifkovic

    Not bad - very nice design and good photography. It's no 'Bocca di Lupo", but it has a good set of recipes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Egle Lekyte

  16. 4 out of 5

    Vince Lisle

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rodolfo

  18. 5 out of 5

    Martina

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kate Cubitt

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Olson

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shonagh Macleod

  23. 5 out of 5

    Claudia B

  24. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Lenaerts

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anna Potter

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Lexa

  28. 5 out of 5

    Trina L. Barton

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lea Chang

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie Thomason

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