Maybe it’s the chiming of the Swiss glockenspiel in Leicester Square but for years Soho has been one of the very few places in London where diners can sample Swiss cuisine, thanks to Wardour Street’s long-serving St Moritz. We’ve always been big fans, but as the fondue specialist until recently only took bookings by fax, it’s fair to say that London was crying out for a 21st-century alternative.
Which is where Heritage, on neighbouring Rupert Street, comes in. The restaurant aims to give traditional Swiss food a modern makeover in a contemporary setting.
It works a treat. The sophisticated dining room looks aptly Alpine, but not to the extent of feeling like a chalet, with dark wood, exposed brick and industrial lighting, though it’s the smell of the place which really sets the mood, with the distinct aromas of the tabletop charbonnade grills scenting the dining room with the fragrance of pine and barbecued meat.
We were given a short induction on how to cook the thin slices of meat (we chose Dedham Vale chateaubriand) before being left to our own devices. We’re always suspicious of places where you’re expected to do the cooking, but this is near impossible to get wrong – and it tastes incredible. The smoky flavour from the charcoal injects that distinct barbecue taste and when paired with bordelaise sauce, homemade mustard and horseradish cream, it’s even better.
The menu is fairly short, and you will want to order everything on it, especially if you like cheese: it comes melted over rosti, in the raclette topping a Trenchmore Wagyu burger with foie gras and truffle and bacon jam and, of course, fondue, which arrives in cute little pots filled with gooey, silky-smooth cheese.
Desserts come with a suggested cocktail pairing; we opted for the signature cinnamon cake (the Swiss take on a sticky toffee pudding, but much lighter) and a well-made Espresso Martini. The wine list is extensive and impressive, featuring bins rarely seen outside Switzerland.
Other little luxuries such as crusty bread with truffle butter lifted the experience further, as did friendly, smartly dressed staff. Heritage is a fantastic place to go for a taste of casual luxury. We would even make a reservation by fax if we had to.