Italian Restaurant Week: Bocca di Lupo @ Archer Street, Piccaddily Circus

ロンドンのウエスト・エンドで人気のあるイタリアンと言えば、Bocca di Lupo。オーナーはイタリア人じゃなく、イタリア料理を愛するイギリス人シェフ2人。でも二人のイタリア料理の腕と情熱は本物、彼らの作るイタリアの様々な地方の郷土料理は、下手なイタリア人シェフのお店より断然美味しい。なので、14席しかないこの小さな名店の予約を取るのは平日でも至難の業。木曜日の夜10時頃、予約なしで行って座れたのは幸運だった。でもこの日が最初で最後、その後何度か予約を試みたが、都合のいい時間に席は取れずに早8ヶ月が経った。試しに今日予約状況をチェックしてみたら、次の予約可能な日は、なんと1月2日の夕方6時前か9時45分以降。12月24日から1月2日まで店を休む事を考慮しても、びっくりだ。彼らの料理を食べたいなら、「Bocca recipe book」というレシピ本を買って自分で作った方が早いかもしれない。

8ヶ月前に何を食べたかハッキリは覚えていないが、レシートを見ると、トマトソースベースのタリオリーニオレッキエッテ、そしてErbette(フダンソウ)、Agrettiおかひじき)、そしてアーティチョーク(写真下)を注文したみたいだ。注文の詳細は覚えてなくても、どの一品も美味しかったことは記憶に残っている。お店曰く、メニューは旬の食材の変化につれて頻繁に、多い時で一日に2回も変えるそうなので、私たちの食べた品はメニューにないかもしれないので参考にならない。食後のデザートは、お店のメニューから選んでもいいが、向かいにある姉妹店のGelupoで美味しいジェラートをいただくのもお薦め。

ちなみに、「Bocca di Lupo」は「オオカミの口」と言う意味で、「in Bocca al Lupo(オオカミの口の中に)」は「頑張れ、幸運を祈る」というイタリア語の表現。なのでIndependent紙の解説が正解で、Evening Standardが間違い。言われた方は「crepi (il lupo)(オオカミなんかやっつけてやる)」(=大丈夫、頑張るよ)と返す。ご興味のある方がBocca di Lupoの予約が取れるよう、in Bocca al Lupo!

West End’s popular Italian is certainly Bocca di Lupo. This restaurant is not Italian owned but is operated by two Italian-loving British chefs. Their love in Italian cuisine is real. Their food, mixture of regional dishes across Italy, is as good as, or even better than many other Italian counterparts. No wonder why it is so hard to book a table at Bocca di Lupo with only 14 tables, not only on weekend but also weekdays. In fact, we were lucky that we got a table without reservation on Thursday night at 10pm, when we could dine there for the first and only time. Since then I checked their website every now and then, trying to book a table but always failed. I checked today from curiosity for next available reservation for dinner and is on January 2nd, either before 6pm or after 9:45pm (they close the restaurant from Dec 24 till Jan 2). Crazy! Maybe a good idea to buy their “Bocca recipe book” and cook yourself if you want to try their food.

I went there 8 month ago (time flies!) and I cannot remember exactly what we ordered – tomato sauce-based Tagliolini and Orecchiette, and side dishes of Erbette (Chard), Agretti and Brased artichokes, according to the receipt (photo below), but I do remember all the dishes were good. Nevertheless our experience doesn’t matter as they change their menus almost every day, sometimes twice a day to keep up with the changing seasons, they claim. If you fancy ice cream, you can have delicious gelato at sister shop Gelupo across the street after dining at Bocca di Lupo, as well as their own desert menu.

By the way, “Bocca di Lupo” means “mouth of the wolf” in Italian as Independent review says, and “in Bocca al Lupo (into the mouth of the wolf)” for good luck. So Evening Standard review is wrong. The answer to the phrase is “crepi (il lupo) (may the wolf die!)” “in Bocca al Lupo” for your try to book a table at Bocca di Lupo!

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