Project Food Blog

Polpo and Cocoon – Great Value Lunches!

It's been one of those weeks. And it's only Tuesday. A week where you've worked all weekend, so lose track of days (is it really only Tuesday night?)

Where life squeezes you from all sides, and each day becomes survival. Luckily, I work in the centre of London, and part of my job as a manager involves taking my senior staff for an annual pre-Christmas appraisal lunch. So I may not have been cooking, apart from the very basics for my family such as Speedy Pasta Sauce, but I have been entertaining.

This year, with the focus being firmly on saving every penny, my aim was to find places that felt special and offered great value, without compromise. And I'm happy to report that I found a couple of gems that absolutely delivered.

First up was Polpo, on Brewer Street. Not sure when any of you last saw a starter for £1.20 on a Soho menu? And this is no fly by night start up – this is the new venture from Russell Norman, ex Caprice Holdings - a man who genuinely understands what makes a great restaurant. The food was wonderful, but it was the attention to detail that I loved. It was so obviously born from passion, created and crafted with care, and delivered with a personal touch. It made me wonder why I'd ever head into a Pizza Express again [I know the answer. It's because I have a two year old and a four year old. And lots of  Tesco restaurant tokens.]

Second lunch was Cocoon. I defy you to find a better £15 set lunch in the country. Soft shell crab. Miso soup with bells and whistles. Jasmine tea. Sushi galore. A spiced tofu salad. And Green Tea Ice Cream.

So not a lot of cooking, but hospitality in abundance. And both restaurants will be featuring in my January edition of Fabric magazine.

Polpo photograph courtesy of Polpo Restaurant

Cocoon photograph courtesy of Spherical Images


  1. Kath, you treated me to lunch at Cocoon for my birthday and I can confirm that it was every bit as wonderful as described. Lovely decor, a laid back vibe, delicious cocktails and sublime food. My favourite was the Green Tea Ice cream which I'd never had before. We have loads of eggs still at the moment from our chickens, and an Ice cream maker, so will be experimenting this weekend!

  2. PS Kath... I enjoyed the memory of that meal so much that I dug out the box containing the ice cream maker from our still mostly packed boxes of kitchen stuff.... I substituted Green Tea for a liquid ingredient from another recipe in the little instruction booklet and my goodness.... it is delicious! I'm so pleased you reminded me about that dessert. I've already eaten quite a bit of it straight from the machine! I'll let you have some when I see you next!! If there's any left!! I've posted the recipe too!