Recently I was invited to the launch of the new Jason Atherton (Pollen Street Social, Little Social) restaurant, Social Eating House.
Now you might be mistaken for thinking that this is fine dining, but it’s not.
Situated on Poland Street in Soho, it isn’t the neighbourhood for fine dining so the decision was made to go the route of a brasserie-style restaurant with dedicated bar; an excellent decision to say the least. While I can’t comment on exactly what the restaurant food will be, the food offered in the bar includes such delights as BBQ chicken wings served from a “hot box”, mini roasted peppers and duck fat chips with aïoli.
The interior suits Soho well, with exposed brickwork, neon signs and even a copper bar. In the case of the neon signs, one directed you to the toilets and “telephones”. The second neon sign was much more exciting: “He watched from his mountain walls, and like a thunderbolt he falls”, which is paraphrased from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, “The Eagle”.
The drinks were a mix of classic style, experimental and downright strange, but they work very well.
My first order was the “Thermo-Nuclear Daiquiri”. It was an experimental mix of overproof rum blend, lime, pineapple falernum, absinthe and “glowing radiation”. So what was so Thermo-Nuclear about it? Well, aside from it being presented in a glass resembling a waste barrel with a radiation logo, the addition of the ice cube with a green light made it radioactive green.
The addition of ingredients like sweet pickle brine in the “Slap ‘n Pickle” or popcorn-washed Buffalo Trace as part of the “Silver Screen” helped make these cocktails a big hit.
The Tierra Roja, an inquisitive mix of Olmeca Altos Tequila, carrot juice, lemon, roasted cumin, honey syrup and coriander, worked well, keeping the Tequila present without it being too heavy. It was soft and pleasant, with a sit up straight character thanks to the coriander. If I can’t convince you how great it is, it’s worth noting that it won bar manager Gareth Evans a trip to Mexico to compete in the Tahona Society cocktail competition in September 2012.
Overall it was a terrific night and I can’t wait to head back in a few weeks to try even more food, and give the drinks another go; it’ll be great to see what new cocktails the team comes up with. In fact, if I take some friends perhaps we can have a sharing cocktail, which is served in a mini bathtub.
I’d just like to thank Michael West, my friend and general manager who really knows how make a place special and a launch exceptional, as well as the aforementioned bar manager Gareth and his many bartenders including Kyle Wilkinson, who I’m sure will go on to do great things. And last but not least, my three friends who graciously accompanied me, you definitely helped make the evening.
Social Eating House opened 19 April. I urge a visit.