I first came here back in March earlier this year with an old school mate and had an outrageous time. Second time around, it’s with long-term clients who were Little Social virgins. This is one of the reasons why I’m so enamoured with this place – it’s versatility means you can have some intimacy as well as schmoozing your clients.
There weren’t that many changes to the menu this time around – however the Irish ox cheeks had ran out! Perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing as being forced into another choice can be a profound experience which I found out in this case.
The Peter Lauer Saar Riesling (£45) was a lovely drop. A minerally and not too sweet white. Just the way I like it.
Braised Turkish morels with wild garlic on toasted brioche (£25.50). I’ve never had Turkish morels before but the deep umami flavour had my palate singing from every bite. Eating food like this just makes me very happy. My only complaint was that at £25.50, I want this dish to be more generous than what seems to be the same size as a peanut butter jar lid!
Cod Brandade, pimenton croutons, Parma ham, tapenade, lemon & bottarga. (£11.50). I can only describe this dish as bastardised (in a good way). Let me explain; you have the Spanish influence from the bacalao/olive oil emulsion (cod brandade) as well as the paprika croutons (pimenton croutons), the Italian ham, the tapendade (olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil) from Provençal and finally the bottarga (cure fish roe) from Spain. Nonetheless, it was an orchestra of flavour and textures.
The bread game was on point, especially with the brown salvador and white French baguette available.
Cuvée Faustine Rouge Vieilles Vignes 2013 (£59). Lovely red fruit!
Aged Scottish beef burger, bacon & cheese, caramelised onions, pickles and cheese £17. Just as delicious and captivating as before. Burger lovers would revel eating this.
Glazed confit lamb shoulder, crushed new potatoes, wild garlic, petis pois, morels, asparagus and lamb jus. (£30.50). This dish was simple yet inventive with really great ingredients, the tender lamb didn’t have that strong game taste yet if was still packed full of flavour. The vegetables were cooked well meaning that the inherent sweetness was still there and the crushed potatoes carried a good level of balanced seasoning. This lamb dish took me to somewhere I’ve never been taken before. I’m glad I tried this over the absent ox cheeks, with every cloud there is a silver lining.
Tender stem broccoli (£6). These are good especially when cooked al dente and seasoned with butter.
Horse radish mash (£5.50) – if only all mash potato was has creamy and rich as this one.
Apple tarte tatin, caramel baked Pink Lady apples, rich butter puff pastry & vanilla ice-cream (for two to share £16.00). Crisp pastry, juicy apples all covered in dark, bitter sweet caramel with vanilla ice cream. (*Advice – treat every mouthful with a bit of everything). This is an off menu item from the specials, so when it runs out you’ll have to wait for the next night.
Maple glazed doughnuts, baked Bramley apple, cinnamon & port filling, crème Anglaise & cinnamon sugar (£7.50). They were still hot when they arrived, so probably cooked to order. The dough is sublime and it’s a double dip job on this one, custard first and then the sugar. Move aside Crispy Creams as this is the real deal.
Hot chocolate & cardamom caramel moelleux, Malden sea salt and roasted almond ice cream (£7.50). No matter how you dress this up, it’s chocolate molten cake with posh ice cream. It’s the sort of desert that makes me smile from ear to ear.
Hand rolled chocolate and pistachio truffles and hazelnut financiers (£4.50). Move aside truffles as all I want to eat here are the hazelnut financiers which were so light, moist and crisp.
Shout out to this guy who made the evening more memorable, he knew his stuff and even took the heckling well for having a Scottish accent!
When did I go? May 2016
The damage: Expect to pay £70-£85 per head with drinks.
The good: Sometimes during the 2nd visit to a restaurant the impact isn’t as full as the first time, but this place calls for an exception. It was another splendid meal had here with 5 Little Social virgins satisfied too.
The bad: Not a lot to be honest, but those Scottish morels could have been a larger portion!
Address: 5 Pollen St, London W1S 1NE
Phone: 020 7870 3730
Closest tube: Oxford Circus/Piccadilly