In the heart of Soho, a bistro of rare – perhaps unique – decorative brutality, offering a short and ever-changing menu, realised to a high standard.
Are you a ‘Bobo’? Do you combine a bourgeois love of fine food with a bohemian contempt for tablecloths and all the other traditional appurtenances of catered quality dining? Congratulations. A restaurant precisely honed to your tastes has suddenly arrived – far from its natural Hoxton or Shoreditch milieu – in the very heart of Soho.
Indeed, short of being actually sited in a multi-story car park, it’s difficult to imagine that a restaurant could be much more deconstructed than this one. Furnished, seemingly, from a car boot sale, its small interior features principally a large bar at which the seats, thanks to an almost total absence of leg room, are fearsomely uncomfortable. And the Muzak? iPod, eat you heart out – it’s from vinyl. How ‘now’ is that?
This is not a natural setting, you might think, to enjoy a beautiful plump partridge, precisely cooked, accompanied perhaps by a tasty pumpkin mush with chestnuts and cream cheese. Or a decent chocolate mousse. Or to taste from the short but interesting range of wines, scrawled almost illegibly on a whiteboard. The aim here seems rather like that of Paris’s much-fêted Chateaubriand – to offer simple food of a quality which transcends the setting, to a degree which is perhaps supposed to be ironic.
That aim has substantially been achieved so, needless to say, the place has been a great hit with the foodie world – on our visit, the the Terroirs boys were in, seeing what all the fuss was about. In the longer term, however, quite how such a profound lack of comfort will play with the wider market, it’s really quite difficult to say.