Restaurant review: House of Ho, Soho, W1
- Credit: Archant
A new restaurant from a well-known chef in saturated Soho always runs the risk of having more style than content.
Happily, the much-heralded arrival of House of Ho does not disappoint, nimbly avoiding pretentious pitfalls with a combination of great food, lovely service and prices that won’t make your wallet weep.
The man behind the menu – Bobby Chinn – is an inventive cove, drawing culinary influences from his Chinese and Egyptian heritage, via San Francisco and Hanoi, where he has plied his trade.
As a result the food on offer broadly falls into the Vietnamese bracket with a few incongruous surprises – salmon tartare, squab, chayote – thrown in.
Divided into light and raw, hot and grilled, specials and sides, the best technique is to order a couple of each and get sharing.
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The seafood ceviche was seminal and immaculately presented (to my eyes at least, my guest thought it looked like a coconut being sick). Smoother and creamier than the Peruvian variety, but with plenty of citrus and spice – top notch.
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The rolls were a little bland, and the wings merely pleasant, while the tangy salmon was a light and fresh appetiser and the zingy grilled quails were moreish in the extreme.
The real showstoppers were the mains though. The sea bream, elegantly grilled with a crust, look fantastic; served head-on and posed as though it was diving out of the ocean. It was one for the Instagram scrapbook.
With flesh cooked to perfection, without much seasoning but a wickedly zesty coriander dip to bring everything together, it was an absolute winner.
Meanwhile the steak – unbelievably tender and very rare, with just a hint of chargilled bitterness – also got my juices going.
Even the pudding, a fondant packed with smokey Vietnamese chocolate, didn’t disappoint.
All the food at House of Ho is good – and some of it is exceptional – so as you’re only talking £10 to £15 for the (not huge) mains, why not go ahead and treat yourself?