Former River Café chef Anthea Stephenson has been appointed to head the kitchen at regional Italian restaurant Polpetto in London’s Soho.
In her new role as head chef, Stephenson has launched a new menu alongside a refurbishment of the interior and new shopfront of the restaurant, which is owned by Russell Norman and Richard Beatty and located on Berwick Street.
The new-look design has been inspired by Norman’s favourite city, Venice, and features larger tables, more generous spacing, black and white vintage photos on the walls and antique lamps. There is also a new chef’s table for up to 16 guests overlooking the open kitchen.
Stephenson’s selection of sharing plates include ox tongue, salsa verde and pine nuts (£7.50); red mullet carpaccio, shaved fennel and chilli (£9); roast pumpkin, toasted wet walnuts, sheep ricotta and grumulo (£7); hand-cut chestnut tagliatelle, girolle mushroom and thyme (£8.50); Venetian rib chop, marrow, borlotti and cicoria (£7); saffron panna cotta (£7); and warm chocolate tart, sea salt and mascarpone (£7).
Stephenson, who has previously worked at the Jugged Hare and Sketch as well as the River Café, said: “I have always loved Italian regional cooking and in particular the food from Venice and the Veneto. It’s my favourite part of the country for ingredients, seasonal dishes, recipes and wine.
“To be able to showcase the thrilling flavours of northern Italy at such an iconic restaurant as Polpetto is a bit of a dream come true for me.”
Polpetto belongs to the Polpo group of restaurants, which includes Polpos in Covent Garden, Soho, Farringdon, Notting Hill, Chelsea and Brighton, as well as Spuntino in Soho.
Scott Macdonald, managing director of Polpo, said: “It is rare to come across a chef as talented as Anthea and her appointment represents the fulfilment of an ambition of mine: to have world-class cooking at our boutique Soho outpost. I’m so excited.”
Polpetto received a Bib Gourmand for the fifth year running in the recently published 2019 Michelin Guide.