It was bold and greasy, it was dude food with flair, and dirty in all the right ways.
Cool is an intangible idea. You can try to explain what it means but you will never capture its entirety. It always changes, it always moves and you are lucky to even get a glimpse of it. Some people claim they have seen it lingering in the side streets of Hackney all the way to Old Street Station. Others say it resides somewhere near Portobello whereas some have heard it recently moved to Peckham. The Apposite never follows the masses. Getting off at Piccadilly Circus, I started walking up Rupert Street to where cool headquarters have been located in London since the beginning of time, Soho.
The air in Soho is different. It carries history and emotion, it emits a certain charm, it’s appealing, it’s sexy, and it makes you want to breathe everything in. Opening a bar or a restaurant in Soho is unlike any other area in London. The newcomer should celebrate Soho culture; it should smell, look and speak Soho. You are trying to invade the heart of London after all; it can either make you or brake you. Standing outside 61 Rupert Street, I looked around and breathed in the Friday night thrill. It took a few moments after walking into Spuntino to know I was in the right place for a true Soho experience.
I was there to have some drinks with a friend that was visiting the city. The room was dimly lit and had an industrial look to it; there was a bar in the middle with everyone seated around it and some space at the back. I have seen this layout in tapas bars all around the city, but this was no tapas bar. It felt underground, a secret gathering place for people that looked to blow off some steam. We placed faith in the polite, inked man behind the bar for our drinks and ordered some fried olives to nibble. Half an hour later we were seated at the bar ready to order.
We had mac and cheese and a truffle egg toast. The food was speaking the character of the place, the character of the area. It was bold and greasy, it was dude food with flair, and dirty in all the right ways. My companion insisted on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich dessert and proved to be the ideal way to finish the night on a sweet note.
“Oh man, I don’t know why I’m saying this but I feel like a Londoner”, uttered my friend in a moment of bliss as we stepped outside. He was absolutely right if only he hadn’t been completely wrong. Spuntino did feel as cool as London, but there is no such a thing as a Londoner. Everybody talks about this guy, but it’s actually a story like Nessi, the Loch Ness monster; everybody knows about it but there are no actual facts for its existence. A Londoner is a mythical figure, a figment of the mind, the guy that possesses all knowledge and wisdom about the city of London. A guy that does not follow trends but seems to be present when they are invented.
Looking back at the totally black, nameless sign of Spuntino I knew it was one of those places I would definitely come back to.
61 Rupert Street