Interview with Richard Beatt, Co-Founder, POLPO
Richard Bett, Co-Founder of POLPO, which opened in Carnaby in 2009 tells us what it’s like to have become a Carnaby staple and let’s us know his favourite memories throughout the years.
1. Can you tell us about POLPO? What made you choose Beak St as your first location for the restaurant?
We were looking for something in the heart of Soho and when we noticed that there was a blue plaque for Canaletto at 41 Beak Street we realised that it was destiny!
2. How has POLPO evolved since 2009?
POLPO was about the vibe when we opened, the food offer wasn’t really top of the agenda but we were very “new” in 2009 and the innovations in terms of design and modus operandi we launched were game changing in many respects. Now we’re a genuine “neighbourhood joint”, more humble and there’s a great deal more concentration on the quality of the food and especially the connection with the gastronomy of Venice.
3. Why do you think POLPO and the location have been successful? What are the main benefits for you to being in Carnaby?
There were very few good restaurants in Soho when we opened in 2009 and Shaftesbury had real vision for their estate and Soho in general. We really felt part of the new wave and Shaftebury’s commitment to the development of the neighbourhood is impressive and we definitely benefited from it in terms of footfall and marketing awareness raising.
4. What is your relationship like with the community?
We have a great relationship with our immediate neighbours. Guys like Pure, Sanctum, Moscot, Bob Bob Ricard are all committed to Soho.
5. What are a few of your favourite memories about POLPO and the wider village over the years?
I think the early days of the restaurant were explosive, and completely unexpected. It was like being in a band that had a global number one so we had a permanent queue and a crew who couldn’t quite manage the level of trade. I remember the moment we realised that the game had changed and we had caused it. We became a meeting place for the guys at Ridley Scott, BBH and Saatchi’s, amongst other neighbours, and it was great to be part of it.