I can’t believe its not bacon
Social Eating House is another offering from Executive Chef Jason Atherton, whose other restaurants include Pollen Street Social, Little Social and Berners Tavern. Having already become acquainted with his style of cooking elsewhere, there is nothing especially striking about mains of seared cod, loin of venison, balsamic reductions and smoked cheeses. Offerings like this can only extend the feeling of tediousness after a dreary working day.
Happily, the starters pack enough of a buzz to break the asphyxiating coma of this Londoners week. Wobbly soft-yolk eggs are fried in crumb and topped with just the right amount of pepper. Bacon (the Kryptonite to my inner superman) is elegantly ousted with smoked lengths of duck, folded and lined with slivers of pearly fat. Theatrics make an appearance in the form of a plastic bag, the sort that some may use to tape around an adversary’s head, which is instead used to cook wild mushrooms. The sealed and airless nature of this cooking medium which is so prized for its other uses also does wonderful things to the fungi. Imagine a mushroom steaming in air saturated with butter, thyme and wine – move over frying pan, the bag is the new multipurpose utensil.
The concept of revival is again seen in dessert, where the tired wagon wheel is resuscitated wonderfully. A crumble of biscuit is piled with toasted marshmallow, raspberry sorbet and a blade-thin circle of chocolate. One can understand the benefit of breathing new life into what was otherwise a charmless snack, but a dessert which needs no refinement is the glorious apple pie. The pie at Social Eating House is exactly as it has always been, and all the better for it. Think spiced cinnamon pastry covering a hot, thickened pulp of fruit. The cherry on top is actually a sphere of apple coated in hard toffee. Well played, Social Eating House.
There is plenty to celebrate at Social Eating House, and all of it can be washed down with a kooky cocktail or three. The price for the privilege is around £50 per person. Tip – share a range of starters and desserts, skip mains, leave happy.
Tube: Oxford Circus