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POLPO: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts)

by Russell Norman

Tucked away in a backstreet of London’s edgy Soho district, POLPO is one of the hottest restaurants in town. Critics and food aficionados have been flocking to this understated bàcaro where Russell Norman serves up dishes from the back streets of Venice. A far cry from the tourist-trap eateries of the famous floating city, this kind of cooking is unfussy, innovative and exuberantly delicious.

The 140 recipes in the book include caprese stacks, zucchini shoestring fries, asparagus with Parmesan and anchovy butter, butternut risotto, arancini, rabbit cacciatore, warm duck salad with wet walnuts and beets, crispy baby pizzas with prosciutto and rocket, scallops with lemon and peppermint, mackerel tartare, linguine with clams, whole sea bream, warm octopus salad, soft-shell crab in Parmesan batter with fennel salad, walnut and honey semifreddo, tiramisù, fizzy bellinis and glasses of bright orange spritz.

With luminescent photography by Jenny Zarins, which captures the unfrequented corners, the bustling bàcari and the sublime waterways of Venice, POLPO is a dazzling tribute to Italy’s greatest hidden cuisine.


“POLPO does what a great cookbook should do: it makes you urgently want to cook and breaks new territory”  Daily Telegraph

“Wonderful … the dishes are simple, with relatively few ingredients, but they’re inspired. The grilled courgettes with toasted breadcrumbs, for instance, was sublime. The pages of my book are already smeared with olive oil and egg; a good sign”  Melanie McDonagh, Evening Standard

“A marvellously useful guide to anyone who actually wants to cook”  Cary Gee, Tribune

“Delicious”  Mail on Sunday

“Gorgeous”  Daily Mail

“Like a trip round the bars and bacari of Venice”  Independent

“A delight for its goodies from Venice and beyond, beautifully presented in a book that (hallelujah) lies flat on the kitchen surface”  Lisa Markwell, Independent




01 August, 2012

About Russell Norman

Russell Norman spent four years running some of London's most venerated restaurants in the Caprice Holdings group, before turning his back on the high life, getting a tattoo of an octopus on his back and setting up his own place in scruffy Soho. Fusing the energy of New York with the cuisine of Venice, it was an instant hit. POLPO has been followed in quick succession by Polpetto, da Polpo, Spuntino and Mishkin's among others. Russell Norman lives in London. With 140 recipes of Venetian dishes from London's most buzzing restaurant, published by Bloomsbury in May 2012, POLPO is a dazzling tribute to Italy's greatest hidden cuisine.


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