A perennial favourite with SquareMeal readers, Jason Atherton’s frenetic Soho outpost is at the heart of the capital’s “fun-dining” scene – laid-back, stylish, funky and quirky, the antithesis of stuffy haute cuisine despite its Michelin-starred status.
The interior might be best described as “smart-steakhouse”, complete with deep booths, chalkboards, bare tables and seats at the counter – although the glory of the place is its flexibility. You can pop in for a charcoal-grilled Cumbrian rump steak and a bottle of Burgundy or opt for chef-patron Paul Hood’s “seriously good” ‘counter experience’ tasting menu with accompanying wine flights.
We opted for the latter and were duly impressed – especially by the two starters. Raw scallops came with a smoky, creamy avocado mousse, crunchy slivers of Jerusalem artichoke, horseradish and the toasted tang of sunflower seeds, while pan-fried foie gras was given a characteristic Asian spin with sesame summer vegetables, shavings of ginger and a deep bonito dashi sauce.
We were also bowled over by a combo of turbot with ceps, pearl barley and squid, and a dish of lamb rump with silky olive-oil mash, bursts of pickled turnip and a caper-laden sauce niçoise. To round things off, there are two desserts, perhaps apple and pear with yoghurt, verjus and walnut or a superb chilled cylinder of peanut parfait with cherries and almonds.
The impressively curated wine list seeks out something different (the sommelier introduced us to two outstanding bins from up-and-coming Uruguay), while service is “fun” and “never overbearing”. We’d also recommend heading upstairs to the Blind Pig bar for a pre- or post-prandial cocktail. “My favourite place in London!” concludes one impressed reader.