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In an unremarkable Soho side street, a British chef has created a carefree and glamorous piece of Italy, which is so inviting, nobody ever seems to want to leave. The Bocca di Lupo opens on to a long Carrara marble bar, where you can graze while watching the activity in the open kitchen. The bar is a perfect place to keep an eye on favourite theatre stars coming in and out of the atmospheric dining room behind, with mood lighting from a huge circular chandelier, and walls hung with original artworks.

The clever thing about the frequently-changing menu here is that every dish can be ordered in either full-sized or small tapas-sized portions – this is brilliant when you are faced with such an intriguing selection and can’t decide what to order. The menu also details the Italian region of origin of every dish, a bit like a wine list, and there is even a special anchovy menu on the side, offering anchovies served in more ways than you can imagine. A favourite signature dish is the Sicilian spaghettini with mussels, ginger and a half-lobster, and not to be missed are the kitchen’s own sausages, especially the rustic pork and foie gras, or the cotechino on braised lentils.

Many diners may not realise that Bocca di Lupo, while literally meaning “mouth of the wolf”, is an Italian expression meaning “Good luck!” Don’t worry, though – you won’t need it.

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