House of Ho. It's a funny old name isn't it? Certainly one that sticks in the memory. On Thursday I visited this new Vietnamese Soho restaurant, the brainchild of New Zealand born chef Bobby Chinn. It's had its fair share of fanfare since it opened a couple of weeks ago - enough so that I made my reservation pretty much straight away!
I was in a sequins kind of a mood. This is my new Sugarhill Boutique blue dazzle skirt...another successful sale purchase!
You'll find House of Ho on Old Compton Street. We were greeted warmly on arrival and lead through the stylish restaurant to our table. I'd already studied the menu online and it was all looking very promising.
Our waiter suggested we order two 'light & raw' starters, two 'hot & grilled ' starters and three main dishes. It sounded like a lot but we bowed down to his superior knowledge and got ordering. From the first section, we decided upon the Bobby's Duck 'a la banana' blossom salad and the crab pomelo salad with noodles, mint, lemon oil and crispy Vietnamese crackers. The two hot starter dishes we chose were the grilled chicken wings in a spicy chili glaze and the smokey aubergine with scallions and shallots. Our mains were the 'shaking beef' 21 day-aged fillet, the lemongrass monk fish with a fish caramel sauce and their special of the day...which I can't remember exactly but I know it involved pork and noodles! (sorry!)
Here are those all important photographs...
Looks good doesn't it? And it was. Overall the experience was positive. The delicious sweet chicken wings were so tender that the meat was almost falling from the bone and the monkfish in the caramel sauce was heavenly. I found the aubergine a little underwhelming but Mary really liked it. I always order a duck salad if it's on the menu and I must admit that I've had better than this (The Ivy do an amazing one...look out for that review soon!) but it was still very nice. The beef fillet was flavoursome and tender. It wasn't exactly a gastronomical experience that blew us away and I didn't feel that the place had much of an atmosphere but it's still early days for this restaurant.
With only a tiny choice of three desserts - none of which we fancied - we brought our meal to a close with a fantastic cappuccino martini, suggested to us by our waiter. Full marks for those little beauties!
We jumped in a black cab and took the short ride to the plush new Edition Hotel in Soho.
If you walk straight through the lobby, near the back of the hotel you'll find two large wooden doors. Through these doors is The Punch Room Bar - an intimate, reservation-only drinking den that I'd read specialised in delicious cocktails and had a daily changing punch.
I'm pleased to confirm that The Punch Room's concoctions - designed for 2, 4, 6 or 8 people to share - are really great: beautiful, complex and very, very drinkable! The bar itself is laid back and classy with a friendly service. It felt a little like we were hanging out in a private member's bar. A really nice little find that I can definitely see myself going back to.
I hope you're all having a lovely weekend. I'm off to see Wolf of Wall Street later on - a movie it feels like I've been waiting an age to see! Nothing like a good Leo fix now and again...
House of Ho
57-59 Old Compton Street
London W1D 6HP
The Punch Room Bar
The London Edition Hotel
10 Berners Street
London W1T 3LF