If you’re going out to Soho then you’ve almost definitely got favourites. Your favourite pub for a post-work pint. Your favourite dinner spot when everywhere else is heaving. Your favourite corner for a quiet cigarette. But sometimes, you need a change. And Soho has always got something going on. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to Soho’s newest and best restaurants right now. We’ve been to all of these spots, so you can feel good about spending your money on somewhere different.
For all of one generation’s ‘not-the-same-as-in-my-day’ moans to another’s ‘‘it-was-never-any-good-even-in-my-day’ retorts, Soho is still capable of producing excellent restaurants doing interesting (and by that we mean not homogenous) things. Mr Ji is the best example of that right now. The Taiwanese restaurant on Old Compton Street screams cocktails thanks to its neon-lit close quarters bar space. It also screams chicken, not at you as you decline a third rice martini, but via its poultry-focused menu. The PSC (poached soy chicken) is the standout dish, so moist that your hands may turn prune-ish just looking at it, while the deep-fried hearts and breast are also essential. A cubic take on prawn toast, filled with a prawn and béchamel mixture before having parmesan rained over it, feels like the work of TATA Eatery (fomerly in the kitchen at Tayer and Elementary, who helped owner Samuel Haim develop the menu. It’s an exciting addition to Soho right now and for the future.
Some restaurants make you feel like you’ve been transported somewhere else. Some make you feel like you never want to leave London. And Imad’s Syrian Kitchen is one of those rare restaurants that makes us feel both at once. With its concise menu of small and large plates (all under £15), this warm and inviting spot, located on the top floor of Carnaby Street’s Kingly Court, is serving up some really excellent Syrian dishes. Namely, some of the best baba ghanouj we’ve eaten at a restaurant, a grilled okra dish that pushed okra up in our own personal vegetable ranking system, and a tender and perfectly spiced lamb shoulder which would, shockingly, get us back to Oxford Circus in a heartbeat.
The superlative-laden (many of them from us, yes) wine bar and restaurant’s second location is right in, or rather on the edge of, the thick of it, on Greek Street. Despite no official bar area, the sibling spot continues to retain the magical sounds of chatter and clinking glasses, alongside the reassuring glug of glasses being refilled. Add in the Hungarian-leaning menu, featuring duck liver stuffed choux buns, and a shared plate of roast chicken, morels and vin jaune you’ll have lurid dreams about, and you have the perfect early-evening to before-bedtime venue.
Going to restaurants will never not be exciting. But since the pandemic, it’s fermented to a different level. Especially when it’s somewhere that feels a bit different for London. Somewhere like Humble Chicken in Soho. A yakitori counter, with its open flames, twirling skewers, and unceasing provision of food on stick - is a completely thrilling place to be. And this one is a very good one. Of the many skewers, it’s the injury-prone and the pornographic that are essential, like soft knee and cartilage, or inner thigh. Unlike an Arsenal midfielder, there’s nothing dodgy about the achilles here, nor the offal - every part of the bird is cooked to juicy and slightly-charred perfection - and each yakitori is topped with something different: lemon ponzu, spicy miso, and more. There are a few bigger plates too, as well as a small section of stuff from the sea, plus ice-cold Asahi on tap. All of which add up to a very exciting bar to prop up at.
Sussex is a British, ingredient-led restaurant with a terrace serving oysters on Frith Street. Not only do they serve the ultimate top-tier snack in the form of mushroom marmite eclairs, this place is also home to a British sparkling Nutty Wild wine that quickly became our Lockdown Support Wine, which yes, is very much a thing. Technically they opened at the tail-end of 2019, but let’s not pretend that time makes any kind of logical linear sense anymore with the countless restaurant closures. Either way, we’re very happy it’s here as it’s a great shout for a last-minute reservation. If you’re rolling with a group, be sure to get involved in their big sharing dishes like the beef wellington, or, if you’re here for a Soho date night, don’t skip the martinis.