Circolo Popolare

I get suspicious when particularly affordable places dress themselves up.  Maybe it just a reaction to the rather showy politics of our day but I can’t help but be wary.

With a dining room like this, thoughts of opulence and showmanship easily spring to mind.

Crudo crocante, lettuce cups with Cornish sea bass, confit tomatoes, dehydrated olives, lemon, baby herbs.  The menu describes this as “A MUST”.  I beg to differ.  Although it is a pleasant ceviche, I would say that it is not something to write home about.  Indeed, if you MUST, it might be worth giving this a miss in hopes that something else might provide an exciting experience.

Crab me by the paccheri, thick-cut home-made paccheri pasta with crab, mussels and tarragon.  With a cringe-worthy name like this, I had my reservations.  These were well founded as although the pasta was thick and embracing as promised, the superlative taste of the crab was not really there on account of the rather sparse traces of its flesh.

Carpaccio pizza, light crunchy crust, beef carpaccio, salad leaves, parmigiano flakes, pineapple dressing.  This red pizza was rather good.  I have not had a pizza covered in beef like this before and from a distance you would be forgiven in thinking that this was a particularly vibrant tomato paste.

The incomparable lemon pie, sour, crispy, humongous 5’9-inch meringue layer.  Which such superlatives attached, it was at least something I had not seen before on account of the massively large meringue on top.  As for the taste, it was ok but one suspects that the towering top is just to distract attention away from the rather petite lemon base.

This restaurant is a good example of the emphasis of form over substance.  However, it does have a redeeming factor.  That at least it doesn’t pretend in any way not to be so.  Plus it is priced at something only marginally more than many chain restaurants down the road.  Over the top decorations also have their charm if you are looking for somewhere to prepare before starting your rambunctious night out.  So you could do worse.


A quiet eating 7/10.

Dinner (2 courses) was GBP 20 excluding drinks and service.



Circolo Popolare

40-41 Rathbone Pl, Fitzrovia,
London W1T 1HX

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