Friday night, post cinema (Hail Caesar! at the Soho Picturehouse in a sofa for two – VERY fancy – oh and the film was ace), and we had no clue where we wanted to eat. Didn’t much fancy Chinese, didn’t want to queue to get in somewhere…but then I remembered I’d always wanted to try Vico, on the site of what used to be a Pizza Hut at Cambridge Circus. I’d read a couple of reviews of it; the first, by Jay Rayner, last year, made it sound interesting but perhaps not an entirely workable concept, as it involved reheated food ordered by weight. Still, Jay said the food was actually good, and as it’s from Jacob Kennedy, the guy behind Bocca Di Lupo, I could well believe it.

Then the concept was changed, to table service, and Fay Maschler visited; this time, it seems things were going very smoothly and again, the food was the focus; their website states: We serve Italian food, The Appian Way – from along the Via Appia, which connects Rome through Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Puglia to Brindisi in the South.’ When we arrived around 8.45pm, I wasn’t sure we’d get a table as it seemed busy inside; but the staff were lovely, very friendly, and had a table for us straight away. The decor is modern, with a centrepiece of a fountain (not a massive one) in the middle, in front of the kitchen, lots of industrial lightbulbs overhead, white tiling, and at the door, a Gelupo ice cream stand with a neon ice cream.

The prices are very keen indeed; half litres of house wine were only £11, starters were around £4, mains around £10-£12. So we shared a couple of things to start: some deep fried calamari with a lovely mayo dip which I think featured coriander, and two fried lamb meatballs (from Abruzzo) breadcrumbed on the outside, which were intense tasting and delicious. D argued they would have gone better with a tomato sauce, but their flavour really came through without anything else needing to go on.

As a main, I went for one of the home made pastas: orchiette with fennel sausage and cima di rapa, or turnip tops, from Puglia. This came liberally sprinkled with Parmesan, and was one of those hearty, rib sticking dishes which you still kind of need in early March. D had a pizza, the Devil, with salami and n’djua, which he hadn’t realised came on a white base; but since it had oven baked cherry tomatoes on top, you still got that juicy hit, which contrasted nicely with the crisp crust. It was all incredibly tasty, and other mains include things like grilled chicken, sea bass, or beef.

We even treated ourselves to a Tiramisu for dessert, which was unctuously creamy. I really liked this place; the atmosphere was great, very buzzy; the staff were awesome; and it worked for my bank balance. I’ll be back.

Food: 7.75/10

Atmos: 8/10

VFM: 8/10