Bar Buca occupies a category all its own. Tucked away on the main level of a condominium on Portland Street, just around the corner and down the block from the Buca mothership, it starts out each morning at 7am sharp as a smart café peddling superior Italian pastries (pasticceria) and strong coffee. Come lunchtime the “bar” enters into the equation, and the 38-odd seats—split between bar and high-top tables—fill with locals in need of a fiercely tasty lunch. Small plates, many of them riffs on Italian street food, are great for sharing and marry well with a glass of table wine. No pizza or pasta here. Think instead stigghiole—grilled lamb intestine. Or spiedini (meat skewers) of ewe’s meat or baby octopus. Even salads pack a wealth of texture and flavour—like, say, raw pressed artichoke with buffalo yoghurt and bottarga. At dinner you can make a meal of it, or stop in for an appetite-enhancing snack before dinner elsewhere. But choose your next stop carefully. It may seem very bland by comparison.