We all hate little brothers don’t we – especially when they are out having fun and you are hard at work. When they go travelling, clubbing and hanging with the cool kids, whilst you toil away.
Little Social is Pollen Street Social’s younger, less slick, but slightly edgier, brother. But whilst Pollen Street got himself a nice suit and started work, Little Social decided to do some travelling, stopping off in France and acquired a few vaguely battered edges to make him more interesting, together with a musical taste that would do a ‘festival dad’ proud.
Having been to the two of them on two consecutive days (sorry Mr bank manager – I will try and be more responsible in future) both came out of the comparison very well, each offering something slightly different.
I’ve already reviewed Pollen Street Social and its somewhere I can’t stop going to, as its one of my favourites in London, with that smart but not fussy look and food.
Little Social is more wannabe French bistro – a long, narrow and slightly dark room with French posters, red leather banquette seating (which is very comfortable), dark wooden floors, maps of France on the walls etc. Sounds odd but actually works quite well, though it was loud with both the festival dad soundtrack (think the likes of Groove Armada and Massive Attack) and noise from other tables – including a frighteningly dull man droning on about how his Matlab model could populate his Excel spreadsheet and someone two tables away who (I don’t think was doing it ironically) had a full ‘Keith Lemon’ haircut and sunglasses on his head.
Staff are excellent – clearly from talking to them many have been with Jason Atherton a number of years, some back to his time at Maze, and they like and respect him. Service is fuss free, accurate and charming.
Food is very good, not quite as excellent as across the road, but a really high standard none the less. I started with summer risotto and it was as good as any I have eaten outside Italy, coming with peas, broad beans, pea shoots and pancetta and arriving hot, with exactly the right consistency, not rice pudding but not dry or sticky clumps either – an absolute triumph that I’d eat every day for weeks on end before getting tired of it. Main course was halibut BLT – a decent sized wonderfully firm piece of halibut, which was just slightly too salty, coupled with a thick slice of bacon, braised baby gem and tomato flesh, minus the skins and pips, cooked in herbs and wine – somewhat bland unfortunately, but a good idea. Dessert was pink peppercorn meringue with mango and passion fruit filling – it tasted like summer even when the weather was once again cold and rubbishy outside.
Value was really good – £180 for 3 times 3 courses, wine, water, service and a couple of other drinks. Seems a bargain when I paid more like £225 for lunch for 2, with 2 times 2 courses, wine, water etc over the road.
I will definitely go back and in a couple of weeks time I’m off to meet the third sibling at the Social Eating House.