On the hunt for the best restaurants in Soho? London’s reigning foodie capital, Soho is jam-packed with places to eat – from traditional brasseries to quirky newbies. Whether you’re in the mood for bao buns or pasta, curry or tacos, Soho has it all. The only hard part is picking just one…
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There’s an exclusive feel to Folie, the glitzy London first from restauranteur Guillaume Depoix. This is felt from the minute you arrive: a velvet curtain protects the restaurant’s entrance on Golden Square, the spot where Soho meets
Mayfair. Since opening late last year it’s welcomed a whole host of glamorous names, and Victoria Beckham recently hailed it as one of her favourite places to dine out in Europe. Rumour has it the restaurant cost a whopping £5 million to produce – no surprise, when you see the ultra-chic interiors, which come courtesy of Studio KO, the Parisian agency behind Chiltern Firehouse. The Mediterranean-inspired menu, meanwhile, is fittingly stylish, led by Executive Head Chef Christophe Marleix, whose sparkling CV includes The Dorchester, Annabel’s and Plaza Athénée in Paris. Check out our full review here. folie.london
The Gladwin brothers have ventured into the West End with their new culinary project, Sussex. Situated on the former site of Anthony Demeter’s seminal restaurant Arbutus on Frith Street, Sussex joins a collection of London restaurants from family trio Richard, Oliver and Gregory Gladwin, which currently includes The Shed in Notting Hill, Rabbit in Chelsea, and Nutbourne in Battersea. Sussex is a celebration of the countryside, and like their other projects it uses ingredients sourced directly from the family farm and vineyard. Unlike the other restaurants, however, Sussex moves away from the sharing dish concept. The menu features dishes like pork tenderloin with malted pig’s cheek, rainbow chard and hazelnut miso; roasted brill with devon crab ravioli; and aubergine and whey cheese roulade served with tomato harissa and basil dust. The wine list, meanwhile, features the Gladwin family’s award-winning range of Sussex wines from their Nutbourne vineyard in Sussex, alongside a handpicked wine range from producers around the world and a selection of homegrown cocktails.
Indian restaurant Kricket has come a long way since its humble beginnings. It was born in a 20-seat shipping container in Pop Brixton, but after gaining legions of fans opened its first bricks-and-mortar restaurant in Soho two years later, followed by two more branches. The menu is all about small sharing plates, and although it changes regularly there are some staples, like the samphire pakoras and the Keralan fried chicken. Winter offerings include butternut squash with makhani sauce and paneer; smoked haddock with pickled cauliflower; and corn roti with Mangalorean mushrooms and tarragon. Their Indian-inspired cocktails are also very popular, particularly the Moondate, made with ginger vodka, date marmalade and date & cinnamon syrup. kricket.co.uk
A slice of modern Japan in London, you may hear Ichibuns before you see it, with the DJ decks in the downstairs Ichibar coaxing you in. The interiors, by Tokyo-based Studio Glitt, are pared-back wooden tables and low-seats with bursts of colour from posters, hanging mobiles and plants. Begin with dynamite shrimp and Endo’s hand-rolled sushi (daily sashimi and sushi platters are available) before moving on to al-dente homemade udon with wagyu beef and (trendy) edible kelp. Ensure you leave room for the Ichibun burger with its 30-day aged British wagyu beef, Ichi burger sauce and cheese. Wash it all down with sake or whisky-based cocktails.
The Soho outpost of the ever-expanding Daisy Green collection is perhaps the coolest of the lot. Inspired by Australian café culture, Scarlett Green is a millennial dreamland – think palm tree décor, marble-topped tables and colourful artwork adorning the walls. The Daisy Green collection is known for its legendary bottomless brunch, but Scarlett Green recently took things even further by launching a free-flowing dinner, complete with a Pornstar Martini fountain and unlimited prosecco or beer. This is to be enjoyed alongside either the Aussie BBQ Meat Board or the Bondi Vegan Sharing Board; we would highly recommend the meat-free option, which includes fire-roasted aubergine, a BBQ tofu steak, crispy wild rice and much more. Boards are made to be shared between two, and while it’s more than enough to keep you going we recommend you pop some halloumi fries on the side for good measure. Be sure to save some space for the Mars Bar Cheesecake dessert too: heavenly.
London’s earliest vegetarian restaurant dating back to 1988, Mildreds was a pioneer in the meat-free movement. Its original concept of serving honestly-priced vegetarian food food was clearly a winner, as it continues to be a hugely popular spot. There’s a no-bookings policy, so expect to queue – but once inside, you’ll be rewarded with un unparalleled vegetarian offering. Think colourful dishes packed with flavour: popular options include the long-standing Sri Lankan sweet potato and coconut curry, the teriyaki ‘chicken’ burger, and the parsnip apple sausages and mash.
La Bodega Negra
Once you get past the neon sex shop-style frontage, Will Ricker’s Mexican-themed restaurant La Bodega Negra is actually a pretty classy affair. Head downstairs to find a low-lit,
speakeasy-style eatery, sumptuously decorated with vintage estancia tiling, taxidermy, surrealist furniture and cosy alcove booths – ideal settings for a late-night soirée. The menu follows a small plates format, with everything from tacos to fajitas to burritos up for grabs. The drink of choice? Margaritas of course, made from the finest tequilas and jazzed up with syrups and fruits galore. Low lighting and nightclub-style vibes make for an ideal late-night dining spot, but beware of the heavily policed two-hour table limit. labodeganegra.com
Bocca di Lupo
What do you get when you combine the honest and delicious food of an Italian trattoria with the fizzy, sophisticated atmosphere of the London restaurant scene? Something rather close to perfection – AKA, Soho’s Bocca di Lupo. Whether nibbling on small plates at the bar (highly recommended) or seated at the
chef’s table, an evening at Bocca is always fun, just as eating out in town should be. Having won numerous accolades since opening in 2008, it remains one of the best restaurants for Italian dining in London with its ever-changing menu that brings you the best of Italy’s highly distinctive regional specialities. Take a culinary trip around the country in one sitting with Roman fried olives, mozzarella and sage leaves, before heading north for your pasta (the Ligurian spaghetti with clams, chilli, garlic and parsley are a classic) and then right down to Puglia for a mixed meat grill. With everything available as a small or a large plate, you can sample it all – perfect for the proper foodies among you. Finish it off with an espresso before heading out into the night. CJ boccadilupo.com
Bob Bob Ricard
Channel your inner Jay Gatsby for a night of fizz-fuelled fun at Bob Bob Ricard, the one with the famous ‘press for Champagne’ buttons. Food is a cross between British and Russian, with menu highlights including the beef wellington sharing dish, a delectable champagne and truffle pie, and an upmarket chicken kiev.
With its whitewashed walls, marble floors and brass fittings, Nopi is worth a visit for the interiors alone. But it’s Ottolenghi, so you know the food will be top quality too – and equally artistic. The menu is based on a mixture of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines, so expect healthy, tasty food with lots of spices. Think soy cured smoked duck, roasted aubergine with sorrel yoghurt, turmeric pickled cucumber and chickpea pancakes with yuzu – all packing plenty of flavour into small portions.
Pasta’s having a moment, and it’s best encapsulated by Pastaio, the restaurant headed by Stevie Parle of Dock Kitchen and Rotorino. The team make their pasta by hand daily to bring customers the freshest of seasonal pasta dishes, which include a deliciously creamy Tonarelli cacio e pepe that makes the trip worthwhile in itself. There are also smaller antipasti dishes to graze on, and the prosecco and Aperol slushies add a playful element (and they’re only £4!). CJ
Old Compton Brasserie
The latest slick brasserie in Soho in which to see-and-be-seen, Old Compton Brasserie is the perfect place for after-work cocktails (the ‘faces of Soho’ list curated by Talented Mr Fox are worth checking out) or a bite to eat. The bar menu features British favourites such as Kedgeree Scotch Eggs and Beef Dripping Triple Cooked Chips, while the a la carte offering has a special selection of plant-based offerings for vegan diners (from barley risotto to a PB Burger) and brasserie favourites from pigs in blankets to ham, egg and chips. The walls are lined with pop art paintings of local celebrities and bespoke artworks from urban street artists. RC
A must-visit if you amore Italian food, Cecconi’s latest
pizza bar provides all the essentials for an unrivalled Italian feast; wood fired pizzas, citrusy Aperol spritz and lovely larger-than-life Italian waiters. Make sure you book ahead, because this pizza-pasta-full eatery gets extremely busy, no doubt because of its easy-going atmosphere and late-night DJs which play from Thursdays through till Saturdays. In-keeping with the relaxed, after-dark dining vibes, the restaurant is atmospherically low lit, with retro artwork adorning the walls and the doughy scent of freshly fired pizza subtly filling the air. Menu highlights include the crispy calamari fruity, the truffle arancini and the pumpkin ravioli, submerged in creamy sage butter and sprinkled with parmigiana. It is also worth noting that the restaurant offers a fabulous 3-6pm menu, serving up a selection of their signature pasta dishes – pappardelle Bolognese, pomodoro gnocchi and more – and an array of cocktails, spritz and beer jugs for just £5. DS cecconispizzabar.com
A project from the Sethi siblings (of Gymkhana and Brigadiers), Hoppers triggered queues round the block when it opened on Frith Street back in 2015. Four years on it remains a hugely popular spot, with diners drawn in by the lure of Sri Lankan pancakes, their titular dish. But that’s not all you can get: Hoppers offers an eclectic selection of dosas, rotis and small plates – think big flavours at small prices.
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