Social Eating House 333

58 Poland Street , London, W1F 7NR

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SquareMeal Review of Social Eating House

Squaremeal London Hot 100 2016 “Relaxed and social, yet with an air of sophistication” is one reader’s verdict on this quietly confident, Michelin-starred Jason Atherton hotspot, which bears all the hallmarks of recent hip restaurant trends – from moody lighting, exposed brickwork, restored furniture and heavy curtains to cool-dude vibes and high-decibel chatter. Chef/patron Paul Hood (previously at Atherton’s flagship, Pollen Street Social) oversees an ever-creative repertoire of refined dishes that champion British ingredients while taking inspiration from around the globe. Morsels of Cornish cod are encased in raviolo with prawns and Swiss chard, slow-cooked venison loin is paired with instantly addictive beef-fat carrots and swirls of sweet mascarpone with cumin, while confit lamb fillet is accompanied by butternut squash, sprout leaves, ras-el-hanout, white kale and haggis. Simpler pleasure is provided by macaroni with Montgomery Cheddar, Parmesan and chanterelles, or go for broke downstairs with a seven-course blow-out at the chef’s counter overlooking the hubbub of the kitchen. Expect “beautiful presentation” across the board, slick service and a strong cocktail offering – save room for the alcoholic dessert sundaes.

Wine List Of The Year Finalist

Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House in Soho brings a slightly retro feel to its wine list, referencing the classic old French bistro menus of the 20th century. It has charm and character and is unfussy enough to allow diners to see quickly what’s available. It is, as you might expect, mostly French – and almost entirely European – but there are some good names nonetheless and the pricing is fair.


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7.5

Food & Drink: 7.4

Service: 7.3

Atmosphere: 6.7

Value: 6.7

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Lynn W. platinum reviewer 11 June 2017

A warm Saturday evening in June and we were looking to eat before a late comedy show. Crusty sourdough bread and smoked butter were very good, and to start we had Cornish crab salad, bitter leaf, quince, apple, Nashi pear, and thin crunchy brown crab toast with cured egg yolk, and the Salt-baked Jerusalem artichoke, Iberico de Bellota, Arlington White egg, Langres, and spring truffle - these are beautifully presented, we were off to a good start. The baked hake, hispi cabbage, crab, Tokyo turnip and saffron was a disappointment as it was too salty to eat and left on the plate, but my roast turbot with green sauce, white aspargus and fennel salad was good. For dessert the Magic Memories sundae - Grapefruit sorbet, raspberry, Bourbon cream, Amaretto, and almond cake was served in a tall glass like a knickerbocker glory, enjoyable and refreshing and my caramelised milk and brown sugar tart with ginger wine jelly was dense and rich. The place is busy and noisy and I'm not sure the staff can always hear properly - I was brought the wrong dish to start but this was corrected. The hake was taken off the bill, we had a great bottle of Chardonnay from Napa Cellars, and overall we had a good time.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Sarah B. bronze reviewer 08 December 2016

Good location for lunch meetings when coming from the City to meet with West End workers. Great service, high quality food. Regular lunch spot used often by myself and colleagues.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Victoria M. bronze reviewer 17 March 2016

Went to Social Eating House on a Wednesday for a little celebration meal with my partner. From the moment we stepped inside the service just flowed - we were shown to the table, had our coats taken, we were given menus and left to decide on the drinks. Since I couldn't decide on the cocktail I wanted the bartender came round to find out what flavours I liked to create a cocktail to my taste. The food was amazing - starting from the lovely smoked butter that came with the bread. For starter I had smoked eel with potato, samphire and macadamia nut mousse and macadamia nut pieces - very rich but well balanced both flavour wise and texture wise. My partner had fois gras with sweet raisin sauce and apples, I didn't get to try it but the plate was wiped clean. For mains we had veal, cooked pink, served on a separate wooden board and accompanied with thick, almost syrupy jus, that came with wild garlic porridge and white asparagus - ingredients that I would never think to put together, but they worked beautifully. I had brill with asparagus, thinly sliced potato, fennel and boullabaise - aromatic with different fish flavours, warm and with a light kick of spice. All beautifully presented, and all thoroughly enjoyed. The atmosphere of the place is relaxed and social yet with air of sophistication. Thank you chefs and front of house team for an evening to remember!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 3.0

David H. platinum reviewer 13 September 2015

First visit yesterday to a fairly busy Social Eating House. First of all the restaurant itself. Its a dark, pubby looking place that seems to be a common look at the moment but makes it difficult to form an immediate view of its quality. Social Eating House could be anything from a starred restaurant to a gastropub. I think we're still with the blond woods of the previous generation, or indeed thick carpets and white tablecloths will do very nicely too. As well as the "pub" look -is this because there's a lot of closed pubs around? the restaurant seems noisy, not because a lot of noise is being made but because its being amplified. In some ways the food is much as you'd expect from a Jason Atherton establishment. All that we ate was cooked correctly, tasted pretty good and was presented very well. The bread was exceptionally good , the mussel soup was nicely designed and flavoursome, and my main of pork belly was cooked long enough for the meat to be soft and nearly all the fat to be gone. It was further improved by the addition of a crisp black-pudding crumble to lift it above mere gastropub stuff. But having eaten chez Atherton at the Maze (in days gone by) , at Pollen Street Social, at Little Social and now here , I'd say that the Social Eating House is the least of these restaurants .There seems something rather more ordinary about it that's reflected in the place , the food, and also the service, which is competent but not remarkable. The cheese I ate in lieu of dessert I think exemplifies this point well. The cheeses on offer looked and tasted like the cheese we buy at a supermarket.. Nevertheless you don't get many and you don't get much- three small portions for in effect £9. If I were choosing from an extensive cheeseboard, with product at peak condition that's OK, but I was choosing sight unseen from a short list, cheese which matched what I eat at home a couple of times a week on the assumption I remember to take it out of the fridge. I just can't see a supplement being justified for this . Our bill came to just under £100, though without the supplements for my wife's off-piste dessert, and the aforementioned cheese, it would have been about £85. However this was for a set lunch and wines by the glass. A la carte and a bottle and I think it would be a struggle to stay below £150 for two. I think I can eat pretty well in lots of places- including Jason Atherton's- for that. I'm not sure I ate well today-decent more like.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Kelly V. 26 November 2014

I visited Social Eating House in November 2014. The bar upstairs and the dining room on the ground floor are full of atmosphere and energy. Although the tables are spaced reasonably apart, this is not a restaurant to visit for a quiet, romantic evening. It is very lively! The menu was interesting and has something for everyone. However, sadly my choices did not live up to what I expected. My mushroom starter and cod main were absolutely overpowered by salt. I confess to not using much salt in my own cooking, but when my companion tasted my food she had the same reaction. The service was superb - very friendly and helpful. Great atmosphere, wonderful service, good menu choices and nice wine list. Shame about the cooking.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

David K. 03 November 2014

Took my wife to dinner here on Halloween, as a belated birthday meal. Got there a few minutes early and staff had an argument about whether our table was ready or not... we were told to go to the bar upstairs, then told not to because the table was ready. So we went in and it was packed and the noise was deafening... all these rich yuppies chattering so loud you could not hear yourself think. There were tons of waitresses around, they were obviously hired for looking good, but their skills were pretty poor. It was obvious they did not care whether you were happy or not, just doing what is expected but not doing it well. There were strange goings on in the toilets... two gents in suits, one locked himself in the loo, the other looked very strange, taking ages to comb and re-comb his hair in the mirror... don't know what they were up to, but something was not right there. And then, back in the restaurant, the food was a huge disappointment. My wife's starter of smoked salmon seemed very raw and was not thinly sliced as it should have been -- just large, thick slices of seemingly raw salmon with some kind of white gunk to smear on it. My wild mushrooms in a bag were pretty good, if a bit gimmicky; nice enough, when eaten on the two slices of toast provided, but nothing to write home about. For the mains, again, my cod was not bad, though the portion was very small; it was tasty, but not that special. On the other hand, my wife had what was billed as 'mac & cheese' with chanterelle mushrooms, but what came was some miniscule pasta in a disgusting white sauce, nothing cheesy about it at all, though the mushrooms themselves were tasty, but the dish was so poorly executed, it felt like false advertising on the menu, which kind of sums up this place. We had a side salad of mixed greens, but these were not even cut, just some hunks of lettuce slopped into a bowl. The glass of Bourgogne Blanc my wife had was not that nice either. We'd done the 'Diplomatico' offer and the rum was good but there was not enough of it... seemed like half of what you should get if you order a rum at the end of a meal. It was nice of staff to bring a small piece of chocolate cake in a box for my wife, as a birthday treat -- we did not ask for it, nor did we expect it -- but that gesture was not enough to stop us from hating this place. Social Eating House? Don't believe the hype. The place looks awful, sounds awful, the people who eat there are awful and the price is not justified in any way. A meal for two, with a starter and main course each, and only one glass of wine, but the cost is just under £100? How is that? And why such a high price when the food sucks and the waitresses really could not care less? We won't be back and we can't recommend you go there... give it a year or two and no doubt it will reinvent itself as something else.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Foodess platinum reviewer 19 September 2014

Two days after eating in Pollen Street Social, we found ourselves in SEH, so we could make a direct comparison. In contrast to the formalities of Pollen Street Social, the room is darker as window frontage is so small and has been set up in such a way as to evoke a rustic feel with bare brick walls, whilst still managing to be dignified. Although a more casual dining affair, the dishes still require care and attention which they mostly get. Experience fresh, vibrant flavours in salad, or comforting egg ham and chips, upscale of course and the ham is from duck meat. Satisfying fish and pork mains followed and the general opinion was that the charred pork was the dish of the day. The man decided to have dessert of lemon meringue pie - a classic I thought, but how silly of me. De-constructed and with a sour yoghurt ice which did little to enhance the overall enjoyment, clashing with the tartness of the lemon and therefore not the best note upon which to end the meal we both thought. Sometimes with classics when done properly from superb ingredients, it is virtually impossible to better, and I thought that this held true in this instance. Obviously not a flawless experience including one of my wine choice descriptions and recommendation which didn’t quite equate to my request. Even though, in such a subjective business, there is still sufficient interest on the menu for us to try again, despite not being a fan of old world establishments, cool pseudo or otherwise.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Chris B. 16 May 2014

Had heard this was a bit more low key/brasserie style. it may be in design, but food was still shooting for stars. Not that this is a problem, in fact it was great, just not a great contrast to the other ‘socials’. Had the set lunch, value is simply outstanding, so do not miss out in his, bargain of the century. However, the carte is a bit of a stretch. so if like me you expected a slightly more affordable and dumbed down version of PSS, you get it to a degree, but be careful and choose wisely, otherwise you end up with a bill up there with the elite. Whilst I really liked it, I wouldn't rush back.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Aymeric V. bronze reviewer 11 April 2014

Tuesday night, really busy and a bit noisy. The staff is really friendly, but the dishes arrived a bit late, so in short the service is a bit slow which is the real let down of the place, because the place is really nice and trendy, and the food amazing: marinated scallop spot on, the venison steak really tender and tasty (nice sauce), and the chocolate dessert to die for. Speed it up, please, and it will be perfect!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Beth J bronze reviewer 17 March 2014

I've now eaten in all Jason Atherton's restaurants in London and very lucky I am too! I just simply cannot leave without thinking I've has a bloody good feed. Uncomplicated and not overly original in it's ingredients (not that, that's a bad thing) but executed perfectly. Never have I had a course and not exclaimed with an mmmm! and genuinely meant it. What I also must comment on is the set lunch menus. The problem with these things is that you always end up with an uninspiring piece of chicken and any other dishes that cost the restaurant the least amount, and leave the diner feeling rather deflated… not the case at Social eating house (or Pollen st social). Few choices but great dishes non the less. I had purple sprouting broccoli, anchovies and almonds. Packed with flavour and would highly recommend. I had pollock with a melted cheese and serrano ham croquette, forget those tiny pieces of ham, this was jammed with rolls of the stuff.This came with almost a lemon posset style quennelle, both refreshing and different. My only comments would be, these places get extremely loud, perfect with friends but maybe a little too loud for a lunch meeting like me. My main was a tad on the tepid side but the restaurant was extremely busy, even for a Tuesday lunch. Did this detract from the experience? Absolutely not. Would I recommend? Absolutely.

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Chef’s Counter - The basement at Social Eating House houses a hidden ‘Employees Only’ dining space with an 8 seated wrap-around private bar, looking over chef patron Paul Hood’s kitchen, where you can sit, watch, eat and enjoy whilst your meal is created before you. Begin your Employees Only experience with champagne and appetizers in the Blind Pig bar, before heading to the basement for a 9-course tasting menu. -

The Blind Pig - Affectionately known as The Blind Pig, Social Eating House’s upstairs bar has an eclectic interior with a vintage twist of antique mirrored ceilings, reclaimed wooden chairs and a copper-topped bar, and can be hired exclusively and semi-exclusively for drinks and snacks. All cocktails are made with technical precision and come beautifully balanced.

Chef’s Counter
Capacity: 8
The Blind Pig (Semi-exclusive hire)
Capacity: 30
The Blind Pig (Exclusive hire)
Capacity: 65