There are times when London shows you why it’s proclaimed as the best city in the world. We’ve always championed its cause and last night was another plus point as to why. Going out for a drink after work to soak up the last few hours of sunshine in Soho is always a great idea. We set up shop in Fernandez & Wells and after a couple of bottles of white, we brainstormed on where to eat and it wasn’t long before we were walking to Social Eating House.
We’d heard great things about this place and once you’re inside you can see why. It is dimly lit and the decor is fantastic: exposed brick walls and leather seats make you feel like you need to be here. We were met by the Maitre D’ who informed us that there’s a 40 minute wait or we can sit at the chef’s table downstairs. Immediately we said yes even though the Maitre D’ had reservations. We think it’s clear she didn’t know how much we love food and chef’s tables are fantastic!
Once seated we were presented with the tasting menu or we had the option to go A La Carte. We chose the latter option just for the choice on offer. Fresh bread and salted butter came almost immediately while we decided on what we wanted. Goregous brown bread as well as white rolls, both made freshly on site. After picking a lovely Merlot from Napa Valley for an extensive wine list, we chose to go with some sharing jars: Shrimps & grits with a green chilli slaw and spiced aubergine with tomato & parsley. These came with some lovely freshly made garlic bread. Both were delicious to say the least. Grits has started to become a favourite of ours after a trip to Jackson & Rye and the flavours involved were just great. The aubergine wasn’t too soft and had a depth of flavour that we’re still thinking about.
For mains we chose Norfolk lamb rump, confit neck, kidney, peas & mint, asparagus, morels – South Coast hake, squid & potato risotto, spring garlic, squid & chicken juice and finally Macaroni & cheese, Mousserons & shaved mushroom for our resident veggie. There was the option to add Italian spring truffle to this but for once it wasn’t an option we took up. The lamb (served pink) was some of the best we’ve tasted and the accompanying ingredients were a delight. Fresh asparagus teamed with the pea and mint all came together wonderfully. The hake was a star attraction and it didn’t take long for the dish to be devoured. It’s rare to find hake on a menu nowadays and it was as pleasing on the eye as it was on the palette. Macaroni and cheese is a comfort food but the way it was made here it was anything but. It was light and tasty and was made to perfection. The rigatoni were made fresh and the accompanying breadcrumbs gave the dish a lovely bite. If only there was more!
Sitting at the chef’s table came to be a great decision. We got to watch a Michelin starred kitchen in action and the precision on show was mind blowing. Head chef Paul Hood (who came across from Pollen Street Social) was a master of the kitchen and it was great to see how he worked with the plethora of chefs behind him. It was all so intricate and it was amazing to see how clean the kitchen was given the busy-ness of it! We got talking to the Sous chef who was preparing dishes right next to us. His attention to detail was a delight and Herbie gota quick lesson in plate dressing. She was very happy indeed. For dessert we ordered the Wagon Wheel which was toasted meringue, salted caramel and raspberry arranged beautifully on the plate. However before this we were offered a free ‘gin and tonic’ dessert as well as some petit fours. Compliments from the chef! Everything was just fantastic and moving on to everything else the Social Eating House has on offer, we can’t fault it. Great service, excellent attention to detail and the icing on the cake was to have the honour to watch the chefs in action. All the while eating amazing food and we can’t wait to go back. We tip our hat.
Social Eating House
58 Poland Street, Soho, W1F 7NR