Restaurant review: Central and Co, Soho, W1

Part bar, part restaurant, Central and Co has a nice busy vibe

Part bar, part restaurant, Central and Co has a nice busy vibe - Credit: Archant

Dining downtown can be a bit of gamble – plenty of the places on offer are far more expensive than their pedestrian fare deserves, many seeking the holiday pounds of visitors to our fair city.

The flank steak was cooked to perfection, but served lukewarm

The flank steak was cooked to perfection, but served lukewarm - Credit: Archant

Despite its enviable location at the top of Carnaby Street, Central and Co swerves this pitfall by offering straightforward British fare at good honest prices.

It’s part bar, part restaurant and the cool jazz soundtrack was just loud enough to make you raise your voice during our Thursday visit.

The place was busy and had a nice vibe, so we ordered some beers (only available by the half or bottle annoyingly) and soaked it all up waiting for the food.

There are sharing snacks, small plates (starters) and big plates (mains) and after picking at some salty nuts and plump olives we dived into a glorious duck scotch egg and some crisp, tasty battered white bait with tartare dip.

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We also had the chicken liver parfait, which was smooth as silk and came, intriguingly, with a Yorkshire pudding. It worked well though, although the paté to pastry ratio was a bit off and we could have done with another Yorkie. For the mains, the cheeseburger was good quality; a nice patty available medium rare, fresh salad and some creamy home-made slaw – pleasant but not awe-inspiring.

Meanwhile the blue cheese puff pastry represented a delicate and well thought-out option – the tang of the cheese and red onion chutney forming a pleasing palette tickler.

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The flank steak should have been good – cooked to perfection, chargrilled on the outside, nice and rare in the middle, with big chips plus a tart horseradish cream – but was let down by being served lukewarm.

On another day it could have been a winner.

Amid the tourist traps and overpriced eateries of Soho, Central and Co offers a safe and satisfying, if unspectacular option.

Jon Dean

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