Last week I got myself a spot at Vico’s preview event. I say spot because Vico disapproves of the comforts of a traditional seat. Vico’s concept is casual Italian street food so seating is sparse and tables designed to be perched on. Food is priced by weight so after ogling intently at the counter at what you’d like to stuff your face in your food is weighed and then you can take your platter to find your perfect perching spot. On this occasion space was sparse, contributing to the feeling that you had been whisked away to a busy market in Venice for dinner.
At any one time Vico offers a selection of as polpette, arancinis, slices of pizza, skewers, salads etc. We tried our best to taste a little of everything but soon found out that there was definitely more choice on offer than two stomachs could contain!
The highlights of the selection were the fresh-out-of-the-fryer squid ink arancini and the couscous. The squid ink arancini was moreish and had morsels of squid inside the fluffy risotto rice, it also helped that it was made moments before I snapped it up. The couscous was topped with mussels that worked really well with the simply flavoured couscous spritzed with fennel and saffron.
Others worth trying were the beetroot arancini, lamb skewers, the pizzas and the bacalhau fritters. The beetroot arancini was flavourful with dashes of goat’s cheese providing the gooey centre without overpowering the subtle beetroot flavour. The lamb skewers were addictive when juicy and succulent though sometimes overly dry. We tried two pizzas one with mushroom and the other with cheese and pepper, both had a thin moreish and chewy dough with simple but delectable toppings, both were a great way to fill you up. The bacalhau fritters had a light crispy batter though some were a little too salted for my liking.
But whilst there were a good handful of highlights there were also a few low points mixed in. The polpette were a little disappointing in comparison to its larger cousins. Though there was a cheesy pumpkin polpette which was oozing in the centre. The skewers were also a little hit or miss with some of the meats at times rough and dry especially the chicken. Courgette fries were a huge let down in both offering and taste, mostly because they simply aren’t good when left out. They need to be devoured right after cooking. Spaghetti Frittata was the biggest offender, tasting like dry rubber bands (I’ve made this better myself!).
Desserts were passed around straight out of the oven. Our favourite was a chocolate slice we had which was very addictive! Service was patchy, though I’ll cut them some slack as they were pretty much overwhelmed when we got there.
Overall I think Vico achieves what it wanted to, to bring a slice of an Italian market to Cambridge Circus, perfect for a light pre theatre meal or a quick get together with friends. There are some hits and some misses but its a great little place that transports you back to Italy.
Address: 1 Cambridge Circus, London, WC2H 8PA
Telephone: 0207 379 0303
Mind the Gap:
Mon-Sat: 11am – 12am
Sun: 11am – 11:30pm
Vico is from the owners of Bocca Di Lupo and Gelupo so if you’re a fan of either you should give this one a try since there’s also a larger Gelupo stand on the side of this one!
Panda ate, shot and left.