Social Eating House is the latest restaurant from Jason Atherton who also owns Little Social and Michelin starred Pollen Street Social. It’s a very pretty restaurant both on the outside and inside.
The ground floor dining room has a few booths for larger parties with leather banquet seating round the edge and the rest is made up of quite small wooden chairs (where we were seated) which were quite uncomfortable as they were so small. Everything looked very stylish however; lots of that ever familiar shabby chic thing going on. If All Saints were to open a restaurant (the clothing shop not the band) it would look an awful lot like this. It had a nice buzzy atmosphere too.
To start I opted for the “wild mushrooms on toast from a bag, cep purée” (£9.50) which surely implied that the toast was from a bag right? Pedantic grammar aside; it was a seriously flavoursome dish. A plastic bag filled with the mushrooms was cut open by our waiter which released an aroma of garlicky buttery loveliness! A slice of toast smeared with cep purée added to this mushroom extravaganza making it, by far, the best mushrooms on toast I have ever eaten. My only gripe would be that for nearly a tenner, I could have done with another slice of toast.
My gentleman companion went for the duck “smoked ham, egg and chips” (£10.50) which was a beautifully presented plate of food. A clever take on the pub favourite ham, egg and chips, this featured a duck scotch egg, smoked duck and duck fat chips. All were perfectly cooked and perfectly executed with the flavour combinations working together brilliantly.
For main I opted for the confit lamb neck fillet, sheep’s ricotta mashed potato, garlic and parsley with wild asparagus (£21.50) which again, was stunningly pretty. The lamb neck (something I’ve never had before) had an intense meaty flavour and a soft succulent texture. The mash lacked a strong presence of the sheep’s ricotta but was so smooth and creamy I didn’t care.
My gentleman companion went for the roast Cornish cod, kombu, mousseron (mushroom), baby gem, cockles and cream (£19.50). The cod had a glossy golden exterior which gave way to a delicately flakey centre. It was a fairly straightforward dish that provided big strong flavours which were extremely pleasant – the type that made you “mmmm” after every mouthful.
We both felt surprisingly full so decided to share a pudding; the Cornish cream tea (£7.50). This consisted of a scone, clotted cream parfait (posh ice cream) topped with diced strawberries and basil and a strawberry sorbet. Not only did it look pretty as a picture but it tasted ruddy lovely too. Such a beautifully balanced plate of food with the most perfect flavour combinations – and also really clever.
Our lunch at Social Eating House wasn’t the cheapest meal we’ve ever come across (although they do offer a set lunch priced at £23 for three courses) but we thought it was thoroughly worth the dollar. The food was inventive and unusual but most importantly it provided yummy flavours. The staff were sweet, the room was attractive and the food was delicious. Nice one.