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your next quick bite | Polpo

Before Christmas, I had a dream afternoon. We bypassed shopping, tidying or any other Christmas prep, and went straight for the kid-free lunch and cinema combination. This is pretty much my ideal free time, and we chose a great couple of Bristol favourites for it. We went to the much-lauded Polpo on Whiteladies, then into the Everyman Cinema.

Polpo is a great little place. Well, actually it’s not so little, it stretches back in that wonderful way restaurants do, to the very busy kitchen. I lived in New York a while back, and it really, really reminded me of a New York old world Italian, with the service to match. The ceiling, and the linen clad lamps, in particular, are really New York. Loved it.

Banquette seating down one side, with tables for two taking priority. Stools at the bar for the brave single diners and the pre-dinner drinkers, and a couple of really traditional eight seater semi-circle booths for big groups. It made me dream of long dinners with big loads of friends and a lot of wine and laughter.

What makes Polpo pretty much perfect for busy parents wanting a quick bite or a bit of romantic normality is it’s speed. We cut it fine and only had 45 minutes before our film showing, and the service was so slick that we were in, with cocktails and two courses of small plates, within 15 minutes.

We loved the squash, walnut and italian blue cheese bruschetta, and the meatballs, predictably, were chunky, flavoursome and juicy. The Pizzette was incredible. There were some olives which I wanted to pocket for later, such were their deliciousness – too good to wolf in one go. Five small plates between us was plenty. Each one was really ‘separate’ in flavour and perfect for halving and sharing. If we’d been staying longer, we would’ve lingered further on the food and had a couple more things.

But, such was our pre-ordained kid free time-slot, and Rogue One was calling at the always brilliant Everyman, we left. I felt a glimmer of sophistication, and more than a glimmer of freedom from parenthood. How nice to not be bungling straight home after such a great lunch, no galloping along the pavement with a buggy for once.

Polpo is on my return to list, which, in a city where new to me restaurants are in huge supply, is a big thing!


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