This is a place I’d been wanting to try for ages, finally we managed it, not once but twice in a just over a week. We’d been upstairs in The Blind Pig many times before but this was the first time we had managed to sample the food other than the incredibly good bar snacks. It was Lunch time and we were seated at the Chef’s Counter, an area that seats eight but for the majority of the time it was just Beverley, me and a kitchen brigade until two more people joined as we were finishing dessert.
We opted for the Lunch Menu which at £22.50 for two courses or £26.50 for three courses, is outstanding value. Unusually for us we both chose the same, cured salmon with truffled scrambled eggs and caviar mayonnaise. It was a dish that I would happily eat every day if I could, never mind lunch I’d have it for breakfast. We can all make scrambled eggs but even without the addition of the truffle they were better than any scrambled eggs I’ve had before, creamier, lighter, fluffier, basically the best scrambled eggs ever. Combined with the perfectly cured salmon and the caviar mayonnaise this really was a dish to be remembered, simple yes but a perfect introduction for us to Paul Hood’s cooking. Being sat at the chefs counter gave us a chance to talk to Paul and his team, to watch the preparation, the precision and the attention to detail that went into every plate.
Paul surprised us with an extra course, Beverley being a pescetarian had the crab with quince, nashi pear, apple, bitter winter leaf salad, cured egg yolk and brown crab mayo on toast. I sneakily had a taste of this and it was gorgeous, incredibly light and perfectly balanced. I had the foie gras with winter vegetable, pearl barley, pickled ginger, kombu glaze and dashi. I loved this but that will come as no surprise if you’ve read any of the previous blog posts as I love foie gras. But the reason I enjoyed this wasn’t because of the foie gras but the precision that had gone into the garnish and explosion of colour and taste in the wonderful broth. You could have taken the foie gras away and it would still have been a great plate of food. Whilst we were sat at the counter, Paul had a delivery of some sample bread which he shared with us for our opinion. It looked really interesting but unfortunately it didn’t taste as good as it looked.
I’d been looking forward to this main course since I first became aware of Social Eating House and it’s been on the menu (I think) since they opened. now that I’ve tasted it, I can see why it has remained. Having just had the best scrambled eggs ever, we now had the best Macaroni Cheese ever. Montgomery cheddar and Parmesan, chanterelles and shaved mushroom, pangritata and the addition of truffle elevated this simple dish to Michelin levels.
To be honest we were both pretty much full after the Macaroni and Cheese but Paul insisted we have a dessert, the sorrel, grapefruit and mint. It was very light and refreshing and finished the meal off perfectly,
We were both so impressed with the food, we wanted to come back as soon as we could, so we booked for the following Saturday. I really enjoyed the Lunch Menu but this time I had to try the Chefs Counter Tasting Menu. At £78 for seven courses, personally I think is good value when you consider the standard of cooking especially when compared to some other tasting menu’s in London which are double the price. It started with the Crab dish that we had previously before moving on to artichoke with langres, autumn truffle and iberico. Yet again a wonderful combination of taste and texture. This was followed up by the all ready mentioned foie gras which again I throughly enjoyed. A beautiful piece of Sea Bass appeared next complete with the obligatory crispy skin, a delightfully light sauce and foam, accompanied by yet more truffle.
Up next was the Venison, it was so tender it just melted in your mouth.The gravy (I’m in England, you get jus in France) was packed full of flavour, the gnocchi were soft and crispy, and there was yet more truffle, but lets be honest you can never have enough truffle. It all just worked together for another perfectly balanced dish.
The sorrel, grapefruit and mint was next. Having previously had it just as a dessert, it was now in what I think is its rightful position on the menu as a pre dessert or palate cleanser and if anything it made it taste even better than before. I’m not sure if this was because of the food that preceded it or if it was the way it revived my palate before the milk tart, ginger and fromage frais. I thought this was going to be quite a heavy finish to the meal but boy was I wrong. It was sweet, it had crunch, it was cold and it was rich without being heavy. I know I’ve said it before in this post but it was yet another perfectly balanced plate. All of the tasting menu was washed down with matching wines chosen by the sommelier and there were some absolute stunners amongst them. It was all rounded off by some beautiful petit fours, none of which I got to try but I am assured they were beautiful.
For me Social Eating House ticks all the boxes for a lunch or dinner. Upstairs at the Blind Pig you’ve got some of the best cocktails in London, including the non-alcoholic ones, downstairs in the restaurant you’ve not only got some of the best food in London and some of the best value food in London, but you’ve got the best Macaroni and Cheese arguably on the planet. Trust me, It’s worth going just for that.