The trend for small-plate menus in restaurants has tested friendships and defied logic. They have to go – here’s why
The news that Russell Norman’s Polpo restaurant group is in financial trouble (unpaid £550,000 VAT bill, sites for sale, company voluntary agreement entered into with creditors) was greeted with huge sadness among food nerds. “Polpo was a complete game-changer when it opened a decade ago,” wrote the London website Hot Dinners, without exaggeration.
Norman’s restaurants, which include Polpo and the NY-inspired diner Spuntino, both in Soho, London, defined a new, super-casual style of dining that subsequently swept the UK. Rival operators busily copied their feel: no bookings, dressed-down staff, paper menus, wine in tumblers, distressed interiors.