Vico

vico

vico

August 25th, 2015

On Tuesday evening, Camilla took me to the soft opening of Vico, a new restaurant from Bocca di Lupo owners, Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo. Vico stands on the corner of Cambridge Circus, opposite the Palace Theatre.

interior

interior

As one enters Vico, there’s a bar to the right and a seperate Gelupo counter selling artisanal ice cream on the left.

service

service

Food and drink is sold at the bar – the theme being fast, affordable, Italian street food, such as arancini and pizza by the slice. Arancini are stuffed bread crumbed Sicilian rice balls or “little oranges” because of their orange colour when they come out of the deep fryer. Common fillings for arancini are meat in tomato sauce, béchamel, mushrooms, aubergine, etc. A similar style of Italian rice balls come from Lazio, these are called supplì.

It’s worth noting here that the popularity of Spanish tapas has sparked a resurgence in Venetian bar snacks of a similar nature – cicheti and the bars that sell them are called bàcari.

formula

formula

The formula is very simple and the proprietors believe that by buying in bulk they can keep the quality high and the prices down. You will see (above) that food is served by weight – it costs £3 per 100g and drink is served by the carafe or glass at £3.50. Customers choose their food and it’s all weighed together on a steel tray. I am in no way comparing the food here to McDonald’s, but for an equivalent food weight comparison, a McDonald’s Cheeseburger weighs about 110g.

plate 1

plate 1

Our first tray of food consisted of a salad, mozzarella and prosciutto pizza, a skewer of fried ox tongue cubes, a mussel and pomegranate salad, two arancini and deep fried courgette batons.

squid ink arancini

squid ink arancini

All the food was exceptional. The darker of the two arancini (above) contained a squid ink risotto which was so good we had to have more. Inside the risotto were pieces of the most perfectly tender cooked squid I’ve ever eaten.

plate 2

plate 2

Our second tray contained the next squid ink arancini, a shaved Parmesan salad, a lightly griddled courgette salad,

rabbit salad

rabbit salad

a beautifully tender rabbit salad

mushroom

mushroom

and a delicious melt in the mouth mushroom pizza.

plate 3

plate 3

Tray 3 …well the food was free and so good it would have been a shame not to try as much as possible! The pizza this time was anchovy, black pepper and finely grated Parmesan. All the pizzas had a perfect crispy base and were so much better than the soggy offerings on the high street.

salt cod

salt cod

In the centre of the tray was a perfect piece of fried salt cod. Food writer Jane Grigson recommends lightly salting white fish an hour or so before cooking – this firms up the flesh and I believe the same happens with salt cod, even though it is soaked in water to reconstitute it. In my humble opinion, deep fried salt cod has a better texture than fresh fried cod.

arancini

arancini

The arancini on plate 3 contained a delicious creamy cheese sauce, making it a worthy rival to the croquetas in Barrafina.

sweet arancini

sweet arancini

At the end of the evening, a waitress came round with a tray full of sweet arancini balls on long sticks, dusted with icing sugar. They had the sweet smell of freshly cooked doughnuts and contained chestnuts …or walnuts.

jake

jake

Jacob Kenedy worked very hard all night, charming guests and critics alike. Above he can be seen helping out with service behind the bar. The food was outstanding – if this is the future of fast food, the high street chains could be in big trouble!

Wine is unbranded and comes by the carafe – I drank quite a bit with my supper and the red was excellent.

Vico is at: 1 Cambridge Circus, London, WC1H 8HD

Prior to launch, Vico is offering diners food at a 50% discount on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th August. No reservations.

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About Mad Dog

https://maddogtvdinners.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Restaurants and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Vico

  1. Wow, looks some lovely food there 🙂 I love Arancini
    Cheers
    Marcus

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Marcus – those were top arancini. I think you’d like their other restaurant, Bocca di Lupo – Jake makes all the charcuterie in house 😉

  2. Oh wow – looks amazing! But I got completely distracted by the fact that they serve my favourite – arancini! Am going to send this link to my parents who are in London right now, they may want to try this place out….

  3. Eha says:

    Now why on earth does my genie not arrive when called: it’s 28th here and I’d love to travel and enjoy 🙂 ! A lot of arancini . . . and I love ox tongue and squid ink and can imagine how good the rabbit salad must have been . . . . thanks for the journey and lovely to see you posting !!!

  4. Fantastic….it’s rare for anything to tempt me back to London, but that sounds such a good idea. Carefully made food at an affordable price in a good looking place….nice one MD….very envious:)

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Roger – it all looked amazing behind the counter too, but there were big queues for the food, so I didn’t have a good opportunity to photograph the food all laid out.

  5. Karen says:

    Sounds like a terrific place to return to often. Absolutely love arancini!

  6. I am such a baby – I had no idea what arancini were – Though I love croquettes – what a glorious place to visit – tiny servings of deliciousness – I hope you are having a lovely day.. c

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Cecilia. You have a good excuse, you are not glued to the internet 24/7 like the rest of the world. I think they are a fairly recent discovery for most people – the Montalbano books and TV programme have done much to popularise Sicily and its food – arancini in particular 🙂

  7. Tessa says:

    Looks fantastic! The squid ink arancini looks amazing.

  8. Ruth says:

    Your photos and description of the arancini made me long to try them. I’m not familiar with them but am glad to be introduced. Looks like an excellent and exciting way to eat!

  9. Raden says:

    The squid ink arancini looks amazing

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