I’ve been a big fan of chef Jason Atherton since his days at Maze and particularly liked his first solo venture Pollen Street Social(which I wrote about here). So when I was asked along to the preview of his new restaurant Little Social, I didn’t hesitate.
Situated directly opposite Pollen Street Social, you could easily be mistaken for thinking that you were stepping into a little bistro in France and not into a restaurant in the heart of London. The feel has been captured beautifully with deep red banquettes, dark wood tables, heavy silverware and vintage French artwork on the walls. The a la carte menu is also classic French, printed on pieces of paper to encapsulate the theme even further. There is also a daily changing prix fixe menu. Choosing what to have was tough.
To start I had the slow cooked egg with parmesan, squash soup, sourdough croutons and mushrooms. I ordered this because I remember having major plate envy when TBH ordered a similar dish at Pollen Street Social. I have a thing for eggs, especially ones with runny yolks and this one was very good indeed. The squash soup was deliciously sweet, but I wish there was a little more of it. The croutons added texture and the mushrooms added a really nice woody flavour.
TBH ordered the terrine of pigs head and foie gras with a date purée. It sounds challenging, but when you look past the name on the menu, its just a terrine. A very good terrine. The meat was slow cooked and perfectly tender and the foie gras smooth. The date purée adding a gorgeous sweetness to the very rich dish. I would’ve gone for this if it wasn’t for the egg dish!
For mains I ordered the ox cheek with bone marrow, mash potato and carrot. The ox cheek had clearly been braised for a long time because I didn’t even need a knife to cut it up. A little silver spoon was brought to scoop out the fatty bone marrow that just added more flavour to the plate. The mash was smooth and buttery, but I could’ve done with more. The carrot was sweet, but still retained a bit of bite. This was a perfect dish for such a dreary day. Comfort food at its best.
For his main dish TBH ordered a burger with bacon and cheese. With the London food scene currently inundated with burger joints, this would really have to be a good burger to compete with some of the great ones we’ve had recently. It was cooked medium as per his request and was juicy without becoming sloppy. It was served with a garlic mayo and some really good chips.
I couldn’t really decide what to have for dessert and because I’m indifferent to sweet things, I ordered a cheese plate which came with a blue cheese, a hard cheese and the best brie I think I’ve ever had! They were all French and I didn’t get the names, but it was seriously good. I was also given the choice of bread or biscuits with my cheese, which I thought was a really nice touch. The saffron infused chutney was also really enjoyable and different to anything I’ve had before.
TBH ordered an apple and blueberry crumble with almond ice cream, which he wolfed down in seconds. So I’m guessing it was good!
The waitress, sensing my indecision over dessert and having asked whether I like sweets or not, brought out a pannecotta with candied pistachio and pineapple for us to share. The portion was huge and maybe after their test days they will reduce the size. For someone who doesn’t like desserts that much, this was absolutely delicious. Not too sweet, the pineapple adding a sharpness and the candied pistachios adding crunch. There was also a lovely lime oil drizzled over the top.
From the moment we walked in to the time we walked out, service was friendly and relaxed. All the staff were engaging and it was nice to talk to the general manager for the group, Michael West, about their plans. Even better was meeting the man himself, Jason Atherton. He was relaxed and happy with the way the preview days had gone. I would be happy too based on the experience we had!
We were fortunate enough to have been invited to Little Social as guests and did not pay for our meal, but the menu is very reasonably priced with dishes peaking at around £30.00. Thank you Little Social for your hospitality, we had a wonderful meal and look forward to going back soon.
I’m in South Africa for the next 3 weeks and have some very exciting meals planned. Don’t forget to follow #STFFonTour on Twitter and SamTheFoodFan on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date.
Until we eat again!