Soho Kitchen & Bar (previously Soho Diner) has been on my radar for a while, primarily for this burger that all my friends kept raving about. And being a self-proclaimed burger aficionado, I had to go try it out for myself. Despite a couple of failed attempts, I persevered and made it there this past week after a farewell cocktail crawl. The atmosphere is busy but not overwhelmingly loud and the staff couldn’t be friendlier from the imposing yet welcoming doorman to the enthusiastic waitress who aided us in surprising our departing friend. Prices are quite reasonable with mains from £8-15 and starters being less than a fiver. Plus, they’ve gotten off the no reservations bandwagon and you can book a table by phone.
Take your pick of the places in Soho, but my choice was Kettners which is quite literally around the corner. You can’t beat it for a classy cocktail (although the service can be a bit iffy if you are in a large group). Alternatively, try the French House for more pub-style drinks or Bar Soho for a casual bit of booze.
What to eat?
I was here for the burger and nothing was going to stop me. A word of warning here, they take a generous approach to their food with the single burger having two hefty patties and the double boasting three. If you get bacon, be prepared for a proper serving with the slab of fatty goodness easily matching the beef patty. Coupled with the rich melted cheese, it’s a monster meal in itself. That being said, there is no sacrifice in flavour with each bite being full of beefy taste and the bacon adding enough salt to enhance the meat without destroying it. And special kudos to the baker for the bun which held together to the last bite despite the outpouring of juices.
You can also opt for about half a sliced avocado and/or a fried egg (hear that Dil?) but that just seemed too much even on the single burger. I could have done with some fried onions though – maybe I can put in a request next time.
One of our party opted for the seabass which looked quite tasty and almost illegally healthy compared to my delicious meat and cheese beast. She loved it and I helped myself to some of the steamed broccoli in an attempt to rationalise the meal – damn those were good veggies.
I’d be remiss in not mentioning the ham and cheese fingers and the chicken wings we got as a starter – both of which were very moreish and probably contributed to my feeling of explosive fullness by the end. The fries were likewise tasty with a crisp shell and fluffy centre yet devoid of any oiliness.
And to wash it all down?
You’ve got a full bar at your disposal so by all means go crazy. I’m kinda glad I stuck to tap water mostly for stomach room purposes, but the pistachio milkshake the GF got was pretty tasty. That being said, I did manage to squeeze in a chilli mango martini which was thick and sweet with a good kick from the red chilli that also acted as a garnish. It’s a bit more of a dessert martini given the heavy mango but I loved it (I’m a sucker for anything mango-ish). The bloody mary is also an impressive site, given that it is piled high with sweet pickles. You won’t find it on the menu, but you can definitely order it at any time.
In general, cocktails will run you £8-10 (£7 if you get one of the classics on tap such as the mojito) and are a fairly decent size from what I could see. Beers are £3-5 and include Camden Wit on tap and Curious Brew in a bottle. Wines run as low as £19/bottle although if you feel like splashing out there is a bottle of Veuve Cliquot topping the menu at £70.
Worth the dosh?
Definitely. That cheeseburger was delicious, albeit slightly messy, and for £8 quite reasonable (I did add bacon for £2 but you get lots of bacon). I wish the chips (£4) were included but since they were nice enough to give us a few orders on the house, I can’t complain. I’d happily go back here again plus I need to test out the cocktail menu!
Find Soho Kitchen & Bar here
19-21 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 5JJ
020 7734 5656