Soho Kitchen & Bar, Soho, nowhere near as good as the Electric

We have been here before! Christmas time so time for my festive lunch with old uni pal Tazza. Tazza has exchanged the legal rat race for the life of a Surrey housewife but still looks forward to a trip up to town and a meal with her old housemate. Last year we enjoyed Mash and I was thinking comfort food could work well this year so I picked the Soho Bar & Kitchen, a stable mate of my Notting Hill favourite the Electric Diner. I had mistakenly assumed that it was no booking like the Electric Diner so turned up early to bag a table. However you did need a reservation and it was fully booked out with Christmas parties. The friendly manager was able to seat us in the bar for lunch though so we picked a table looking out onto Old Compton St and proceeded with our catch up. Space wise this isn't anywhere near as big as it’s Notting Hill counterpart. It is all arranged around the central bar. It's also a bit more club looking and quite dark especially as succession of vans choose to double park outside the front depriving inside of natural light. However our chairs were comfy and with a cocktail on order we settled in for lunch.

The menu is very similar to the Electric Diner in that it's concise and centres on simple dishes. The pay off is that the food is delicious and you get a hearty portion. To start with ordered some shared nibbles in place of a starter. We had grilled ham and cheese fingers and the honey fried chicken. These were both lovely particularly the chicken, moist tender chicken covered in a spicy honey glaze. This took care of the cocktails so we moved onto wine. The mains were less good and coincided with the restaurant filling up with their Christmas party patrons so I can imagine the kitchen was pushed. I was endeavouring to be 'better than a burger' (I order them far too much eating out) so went for the philly cheese steak sandwich. This combines my two great loves steak & cheese into the same sub roll however I found it a bit greasy and it lacked seasoning, neither the cheese or steak were bring much oompf to the table. I ordered chips as a side and these weren't quite right. They didn't seem in their first flush of youth and it felt like that had made some earlier and then heated up. Tazza had rib-eye steak and chips which she did enjoy but found quite fatty. However the wine and chat/gossip was flowing so we were both happy.

By dessert we were very merry indeed and ordered cheesecakes, another small drink and some coffee as I had to go back to work. The cheesecake was nice but as I always find with this type of food it makes me very full so dessert is never the best idea. Service was very friendly throughout the meal and the afore-mentioned manager was very attentive. I do however feel that neither the food or look of the restaurant matches up to the Notting Hill one. I've eaten at other Soho House restaurants like Pizza East and in their private members and they are average whereas the Electric Diner is exceptional. Having said that this is central Soho and most punters are looking for food to go with their drinks so it's fits into the locality well. The bill was initially about £90 for two however I had a discount card from the Electric so that was halved so that was a right result. I always enjoy my catch up lunches with Tazza and the Soho Bar & Diner suited us well but they do need to raise their game a bit in the kitchen.

Monday, January 13, 2014
Overall rating
Food 6 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8

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