Spuntino, Soho

27 stools and a popcorn machine...

The Vibe

A tiny, somewhat cramped and deeply casual-cool restaurant where diners sit around the central bar and guests wait merely minutes for their popcorn, booze and sliders to arrive. With 27 guests at its fullest, date nerves can be broken up by asides to neighbours – what’s good here? – and filler chat with the barman. Sitting butt by butt means there’s no awkward eye contact; just play punches and footsie. You can finish a good meal here in under an hour so perfect for a quick exit, or a stomach liner for an altogether bigger Soho night.

The Order

They are famous for their sliders but the real person sized cheeseburger is rudely spiced heaven. The nerve required to make a chilli and jalapeño burger that even hot sauce fiends struggle with reflects their confidence when it comes to food. Ask what spices are in the chicken marinade and they will hot foot it to the chef to get a genuine break down. Not pretentious, just pedantic. Start with Negroni’s and eggplant chips with yoghurt. Then a carafe of red wine with the burger, a mac n cheese, and market greens. Dessert is not for dates. Return with pals for the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The Game

You went to a group hang at the Ham Yard Hotel and now you’ve isolated the person you want to ask out. Wait till the Sunday fear descends and people start to peel off. Then, once they look tipsy, whisper the suggestion of dinner. Pay up and wander through Soho to Spuntino. Once you get there, take charge with the order and let them admire your spark with the waiters. Split the bill – don’t let them know this is 100% a date – then get them an Uber home and hop on the tube. Seed planted.

The Faults

Some people might start shouting over to you about what’s on your plate. Depending on the chat it can be endearing or annoying.

The Sex Factor

2. You’d need to follow up with drinks at the W Hotel to convert this.

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