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Sunday, 24 November 2013

50 B4 50-Social Eating House

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It it not often that you visit a restaurant that has been awarded a Michelin star within months of opening. This however is the case at the Social Eating House in Soho, London. They opened on 18th April 2013 and by the time we arrived in December, the star was firmly in place.
Situated over 3 floors, we started at the top in The Blind Pig bar. An exciting array of unusual cocktails jumped from the drinks menu and were very much in tune with the ambiance. The decor was mainly dark wood and glass with an antique mirrored ceiling, giving a warm cosy feel, whilst mixing eclectic design and an obvious level of unpretentious class. The staff were friendly and really helpful.
My wife and I were with our great friend Viv. We were celebrating her surprise birthday, she was 50 and I was surprised she wasn't older.
The girls were soon tucking into gin & tonic's whilst I was charmed by the London lager served in a old style metal tankard.
The restaurant is Jason Atherton's second Michelin Star establishment in London, the other being his first restaurant, Pollen Street Social. Jason is one of a very few British chefs to spend time working in the kitchen at the world famous El Bulli in Spain.
The Chef Patron is Paul Hood who worked alongside Jason at Maze & Pollen Street Social, and today they continue to develop dishes together, the contemporary and complex dishes on the menu reflect Paul's personal style of cooking and has a clear influence from their time in the kitchen together.
As we moved down to ground floor 'No 58' Restaurant dining room the place was already full and buzzing. The decor included exposed brick walls, with a white-washed copper ceilings and a mix of classic wood & leather seating. It immediately felt welcoming and gave a feeling of being a good place to be.
The menu was as vibrant and exciting, as it was intriguing. We went for the (surprisingly good value: £23) 3 course set menu, and choosing ultimately proved easy, as the starter of Slow Poached Hens Egg, Coq au Vin, Smoked Bacon and Onion Soup sounded too good to miss, and it was! We had also been fascinated by the 'Jars' offered on the menu in The Blind Pig upstairs, when we asked our waiter if we could also have a 'Jar' of Confit Duck Rillet, Spiced Mango & Chicory (£5.50) he did not flinch, just smiled and added it to our order.

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My wife went for the Crisp Pearl Barley & Portobello Risotto, Savoy Cabbage Pesto & Parmesan, and she was pleased with her selection. In fact, she was really happy with my restaurant choice, which has to be said, is a bit of an unusual result for me!

The entire dining room team were dressed in a smart casual style which created a relaxed atmosphere in itself, their friendly manner just made everything a pleasure.

The comprehensive wine list offered a wide choice and the sommelier gave us a knowledgeable hand.

All of us chose the same main course; Stout Braised Beef Feather Blade, Chestnut Mushrooms, Shallots with Smoked Creamed Potatoes. To this we added a side portion of Duck Fat Chips. The silence as we ate proved we were all fully focused on eating as we as enjoyed yet other fabulous flavoursome course.

When I asked Martin, the maitre' de, if we could see the 'Employees Only' dining space (the private dining section), he did not hesitate to escort us downstairs to show us the eight-seater wrap-around bar, directly looking over the pass in the busy open kitchen.

The desserts were Burnt Butter Treacle Tart, Lemon & Whipped Clotted Cream, and Poached Williams Pear, Mulled Wine Soup, Milk & Honey Ice Cream. We of course had three puddings for two pudding eaters. The two treacle tarts simply had all the flavour and memories of great treacle treats of yesteryear, but managed to somehow taste 'light'. Before we tucked in our waiter appeared with what look like a weird bunch of bananas, this turned out to be a 'Buddha's Hand, a citric fruit that was grated onto our sweets. A nice touch of theatre and new experience.

The pear gave a taste of Christmas in a bowl. My wife even had a bit, and fortunately I managed to stop her singing any carols!

This is certainly a restaurant we look forward to returning to.

Social Eating House
58 Poland Street, London W1F 7NR
020 7993 3251
Michelin Stars Collected So Far: 26

3 Michelin Star
London | Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester -
Berkshire-Bray | The Waterside Inn -

2 Michelin Star
London | Hibiscus -
London | Pied a Terre -
Buckinghamshire-Marlow | Hand & Flowers - (*3 Times!)
France | Georges V Hotel, Paris -

1 Michelin Star
London | L’Autre Pied -
London | L’Escargot -
London | Quilon -
London | Social Eating House -
London | The Savoy Grill -
London | Veeraswamy -
Hampshire | Terrace Restaurant (Montague Arms) -
Hampshire | Vetiver (Chewton Glen Hotel) -

*To read the review on any of the above restaurants, put 'restaurant name' in this blog's search box.

No Michelin Stars, but restaurants visited since July 2013 that are worth a mention:
London | Benares - (Michelin Star, but no wife!)
Atul Kochhar's Indian fine dining with a contemporary British twist. Lamb ‘Livers and Kidney’ Masala Pie fabulous! Service stylish & impeccable.

Surrey | Penny Hill Park - (2 Michelin Star-Afternoon Tea only)
Indulgent cakes, all the afternoon cream tea trimmings and fizz. Sense of tradition, occasion and glamour. Tea Guild 'Top City & Country Hotel Tea Awards 2012'.
Milford on Sea | Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant-
Amazing fish restaurant, creative dishes and flavours. A Michelin Star is surely only a matter of time.

London | Franco's -
Smart Italian restaurant. Truffles abound and lasagne is excellent.

Milford on Sea | La Perle -
Charming French bistro with classic dishes authenticly served, delightful desserts, good value and friendly service.

Mudeford | The Jetty -
Great restaurant in a spectacular waterside location on Christchurch Harbour. Top quality experience in the extensive menu, ingredients and service.

Yarmouth, IoW | The George -
Fine fresh crevettes & lobster dishes with delightful beachside dining on sunny days.
London | Dishoom -
Described as a 'Bombay Café in Covent Garden. Completely different Indian dining, unexpected menu serving tasty spicy tapas style dishes.
London | J Sheeky Oyster Bar -
Excellent fish & seafood restaurant. Voted 3rd in Zagat ' Best Seafood Restaurants in London' .


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