Vico review: The fast-food Cambridge Circus trattoria is reborn as a grown up, sit down, complete dining experience

 
Steve Hogarty
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Scientists agree: the sound of trickling water helps the body to digest the essential antioxidants it needs to lurch around the place and speak.

Dominating an entire corner of Cambridge Circus, Vico was once a grand yet informal arancini outpost serving superfast Italian street food to exiting theatre audiences. But since relaunching in December the pace has mellowed, a giant indoor fountain has appeared, comfortable tables and chairs invite you to stick around and the expanded menu has evolved beyond all recognition.

WHERE? If Soho and Covent Garden were two giant mouths, this would be where the sexy inter-borough snog takes place: the enviable address of One Cambridge Circus, where Shaftesbury Avenue meets Charing Cross Road.

WHO? The head chef here is Jacob Kenedy, who before opening Vico launched high-end Soho ristorante Bocco di Lupo in 2008 with great success. Kenedy’s ace up his sleeve is his mastery of all things ice-cream, a diet-devastating practice that he now brings to bear in Vico’s adjoining gelato bar.

ORDER THIS... Cutesy little ear shaped orecchiette is the most underrated pasta variety there is, and on this menu it’s accompanied by red and spot prawns whose tomato-assisted sweetness is cut through with bitter almonds to create rich, filling and unmistakably Italian tasting mouthfuls.

BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? There’s not a tremendous amount of elbow room in this busy and densely tabled diner, so don’t expect much privacy over lunch. Sharing platters and an afternoon menu of quicker one-plate meals make this an ideal spot for a more schedule-conscious chat however.

NEED TO BOOK? The older incarnation of Vico was all about the footfall of after-show walk-ins, but these days it’s best to plan ahead. Bookings can be made at eatvico.com

THE VERDICT… A successful transformation for a superb Italian restaurant in the heart of theatreland. With the addition of tables, chairs, cutlery and time, Vico has given its food the stage it’s deserved.

ONE MORE THING… Gelato, baby. You can drop in for a scoop or two whether you’re dining or not, and you really should. Check out the sharply sweet blood orange sorbet, which is served in its own blood peel and will have you wondering if Jacob Kenedy lost one of the Ns in his name in some kind of Faustian pact with the ancient gods of gelato.

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