Social Eating House (January 2014)

Another success from Jason Atherton, both my comrade and I delighted in every moment of our experience at Little Social. We were not at all surprised that all the tables were full on a Tuesday lunchtime yet despite this, the service was friendly, relaxed, caring and importantly both prompt yet unrushed too. Beyond the attractive vibe emanating from the restaurant (not just the service as mentioned previously, but also appropriately cool and still unpretentious décor), the food was absolutely first class, as good – and fairly reasonably priced too. Although a set lunch menu is offered for an enticing £19, we both went from the a la carte (starters at £10-12 and mains at £20-25). To begin, I selected their signature ‘wild mushrooms from a bag’ – literally what it says, but an innovative way of presenting what is a fairly simple dish. The flavours were complex, varied and alluring, and remarkably fresh. My only complaint was that I would have liked more. My comrade described his artichoke soup with mushrooms, quail and crispy pork skin as being “exquisite.” The mains showed that things could get better and we were equally delighted with our respective options of pork and lamb, both presented beautifully and paired to perfection with starches (polenta and risotto respectively) and seasonal vegetables. There was still room for a pudding to be shared, an amazing ‘chocolate nemesis’ accompanied by Vin Santo and Espresso essence. We only partook in water with the meal (thereby keeping the bill to sub-£100), but the wine list also appeared to be superbly compiled. The sommelier with whom I discussed it was both knowledgeable and passionate about its composition with some interesting choices from the Alsace and also Italy (with the New World notably eschewed), starting at just £26. I will definitely be back, hopefully to enjoy the food with wine next time and have no doubt, the Social Eating House is amongst the best London has to offer at present.