Restaurant review: Social eating House, Soho, W1

The decor was a mixture of modern and archaic

The decor was a mixture of modern and archaic - Credit: Archant

There’s something incongruously both modern and antiquated about the Social Eating House.

The duck eggs and ham were fun and tasty

The duck eggs and ham were fun and tasty - Credit: Archant

It’s sleek glass frontage is accompanied by an archaic looking name plate, the interior is chic New York in the rear and Victorian London by the bar and even the food walks a fine line between modern and traditional.

The man behind it certainly has pedigree – Jason Atherton is a former Gordon Ramsey associate and his other restaurants; Mayfair’s Pollen Street Social and Little Social Bistro, come highly recommended.

The front of house staff are impeccably presented and welcoming and we settled into a diner style booth to peruse the menus.

The cocktail list seems to be all signature drinks – nothing boring here – and both of ours were delicious, full of flair and were served in intriguing containers. On the recommendation of the maître d’ we had the fantastic mushrooms from a bag on toast – which really did come out of a plastic bag, served with a slice of heavily tepanaded toast in a cute little rack. Very special they were too, moist and packed with buttery flavour.

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The duck eggs and ham were also great. A soft boiled duck egg with thin chips as soldiers and dusky ham on the side, it was a light-hearted take on a greasy spoon classic.

A bit less impressive was the wild boar ravioli. Pleasant enough, but the sauce lacked a bit of character – a touch Ragu in comparison with the quality of the other dishes.

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For the main, my lamb was clearly slow cooked for a long time, but retained its taste as well as its moisture. It was soft, succulent and served with a concentrated jus and goats cheese infused mashed potato which was whipped into a frenzy until it was incredibly smooth.

The cod was a huge chunk of white flesh. Never the most flavoursome of fish on its own, the sauce made up for it with strong cockles and cream. These were ably accompanied by some lovely garlic greens and triple fried duck fat chips.

Fairly full after this decidedly rich food we avoided the dessert menus and looked at the cheese; an excellent combo of French and British varieties in which our home grown fromage held its own.

Every course was washed down with different wines expertly selected by Bruno, the eccentric but impeccable sommelier, so top marks there.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Social Eating House. It’s smart and sexy without being pretentious and the food is of a high standard while still feeling fresh and funky – and not too tough on the wallet for central London.

Next time I need a pre-theatre meal in the West End, it will be my first port of call.

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