The Social Eating House

19th April 2013
It would seem that Jason Atherton is taking over the restaurant world! This week saw him open his third restaurant, Social Eating House, headed up by his long term partner, Paul Hood. The restaurant is located in the heart of Soho over three storeys. There is a 15 seater chef’s table in the basement, the restaurant on the ground floor and then a very funky bar, with its own entrance on Poland Street on the top floor. As with his other two restaurants, this one is a looker! Quirky portraits on the walls (I wonder who they are?), panelled ceiling and exposed brick work. It felt like a place I could easily get comfortable in. 
We had a Poland 58 cocktail to kick proceedings off. I am not sure exactly what was in it but it came in a neat little copper cup and the mixer was in a brown glass medicine bottle. I loved the presentation and I loved the drink. If that is the standard of cocktails being served in the upstairs bar, I may become a regular! 

While we decided what to have we looked over the “Jars to share” section all priced at £4.50. The waiter recommended that we have two, but I didn’t want to spoil my appetite, so we ordered Confit pork rillettes, grain mustard, cider vinegar. In hindsight, I wish we’d ordered more because it was delicious.  

To start, I had Duck smoked “Ham, egg and chips” (£10.50).  As you may know, I have a major thing for eggs with runny yolks and this one was divine. Bread crumbed and deep fried and tasting slightly of truffle, the chips serving as perfect little soldiers. The ham was beautifully rich and when, as recommended by our waiter, I let the yolk run all over the ham, it was pure heaven. 
TBH ordered the Ravioli of wild boar bolognaise, Berkwell, peppered hearts and kidneys. (£8.50). I liked the sound of the dish but was a little frightened by the offal. I’m only just getting to grips with chicken livers! TBH is a much braver soul than I am. He loved it. Like he has said before “Nothing is as it seems in these types of restaurants”. So even though you read offal on the menu, it isn’t a big chunk of it on the plate. Maybe I’ll try it next time.*Note to self* Must. Be. More. Adventurous! 
There are a lot of fish dishes in the mains section, much to my delight. I ordered South Coast turbot, brown shrimp, cucumber, charlotte potato and mousseline sauce (£16.50). I was blown away at the price of this dish, turbot is notoriously expensive pound for pound. The fish was buttery and cooked to perfection. I’d never had a mousseline sauce, but mixed in with the cucumber and charlotte potatoes it was light and creamy; a lovely accompaniment to my fish. The crispy potato skins added a nice bit of texture and really reminded me of my mom, it was something she would often do.
TBH had the special of Onglet steak served with duck fat fried chips, peppercorn sauce and a side salad. Some béarnaise sauce arrived with it and I was expecting not to like it as I usually don’t, but it had a nice citrus kick to it and wasn’t overpowered by tarragon. TBH enjoyed his meal and the tastes I had, were very good too. Only the side salad was a little over seasoned but that is easily fixed. 
For dessert I ordered Szechuan and sea salt baked pineapple, lime and coconut (£6.50). When this arrived, it looked as pretty as a picture. Not being a dessert lover, I was intrigued by the savoury notes in this dish. The pineapple was wafer thin and the Szechuan pepper and sea salt didn’t come through that much. However, the mousse (or at least I think it was a mousse) was a perfect balance between sharp lime, sweet pineapple and desiccated coconut. I really enjoyed it. 
For his dessert, TBH ordered Milk chocolate mousse, praline, chocolate éclair, salted caramel ice cream (£6.50). The presentation on this one we thought a little strange. Why would you put an éclair on a napkin? Never the less, the dessert was well executed and TBH was happy with his choice. 
Service at times was a little slow, but considering this is just the soft launch, that can be forgiven. The staff were all well informed and were able to make some excellent recommendations. Michael West, Jason’s business partner, was constantly walking around the restaurant to check that everything was in order and it seemed to be from our perspective. We even saw Jason himself chatting to staff and guests.  
I think it’s quite obvious that I really love anything Jason Atherton does. I think he’s gotten the balance just right between outstanding cooking and a relaxed atmosphere. I loved Pollen Street and Little Social, but I love Social Eating House even more and I am sure this visit won’t be my last. 
TBH and I have a lunch at The Delaunay coming soon, which I am really looking forward to.
Until we eat again!
*Disclaimer* We were invited to dinner as guests of Social Eating House during the soft launch of the restaurant. All opinions are my own.

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