LDNReview

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Noble Rot Soho image
8.6

Noble Rot Soho

Modern EuropeanWine Bar

Soho

$$$$Perfect For:BirthdaysBusiness MealsCatching Up With MatesDate NightDinner with the ParentsDrinking Good WineImpressing Out of TownersLunchSpecial Occasions
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Soho is built on stories. Of loves lost, places past, and drinks drunk. So when one goulash-stained story ends, in this case that of the Gay Hussar—the legendary left-wing hangout where Hungarian food was served without gusto, and politics was discussed with plenty of plonk on the side—it’s only natural that another big name should take its place. It’s also only natural that said name, Noble Rot, should be the best pourers of wine in London, and fit as effortlessly onto the end of Greek Street as a stiff drink does in the hands of anyone in Soho.

This isn’t a surprise though. The original has that rare and indefinable comfort factor that makes a relatively young restaurant feel like a worn-in chesterfield sofa. The same goes here. Dark maroons meet muted yellow orbs on the wall, and there’s just enough room to squeeze around the grand hallway-like downstairs. Unlike Lamb’s Conduit Street, there’s very little breathing space here. And that suits Soho. Elbows will bump just as often as glasses will clink. Upstairs you’ll find two big banquettes to settle into for lunches that blur day and night. Noble Rot are experts in creating a bunker mentality. The kind where you hunker down with bottles Burgundy and Beaujolais instead of tins of baked beans.

Noble Rot Soho image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Of course, the food plays a big part too. There are familiar classics, like their famous bread plate with the oilest of focaccia and the most treacly of soda bread, plus stalwarts like slipsole alongside the usual delicious, European-touched delicious whatnot—a pork chop on beans, some hake and aioli. But with the help of Alex Jackson, previously of Sardine, there’s also some honouring of the Gay Hussar’s Hungarian heritage going on. A goulash or a lovely little choux bun filled with duck liver paté, plus a new classic via the Jura: roast chicken with morels and vin jaune. Without doubt the essential order. Equal parts familiar and luxurious, it’s a whole roast chicken in an autumnal creamy wine sauce served alongside the most delicate, fluffed rice. They know their stuff here. Especially when it comes matters of the sauce, so it's little surprise that this one is just as drinkable as anything from a bottle.

It can feel hard to get superlative-laden about a second location of a restaurant (especially given many of the superlatives come from our direction) but despite swapping a bar area for a private dining room and moving to an even more trodden part of London, this Soho sibling still retains its magic. Noble Rot may have a light touch when it comes to assimilating into an area, but what it brings continues to feel completely unique to London.

Food Rundown

Noble Rot Soho image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Choux Bun, Duck Liver Parfait & Tokaji Jelly

A brilliantly, richly, and completely unapologetically Henry the VIII-ish snack. It's a profiterole of the most gout-ish variety and should 100% be paired with a glass of champagne. This is how you start a meal.
Noble Rot Soho image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Smoked Eel, Horseradish, Pickled Rhubarb & Soda Bread

Not only a lovely plate of food but also a lovely piece of engineering. The soft and subtly smoked eel is flush to a precisely measured buttered slice of Noble Rot's peerless treacle soda bread. Paired with a horseradish sauce that doesn't pack any punches and some sweet and sour pickled rhubarb, it's an elegant and classic starter.
Noble Rot Soho image

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

Focaccia, Sourdough & Soda Bread

Speaking of bread. You should, of course, still have the best bread plate in London on your table.
Noble Rot Soho image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Spinach Spaetzle, Ham, Shallots & Cream

Comfort is different things to different people, and everyone has varying forms of comfort. One of ours is eating and drinking in Noble Rot and this spinach spaetzle—full of cream and cheesiness, ham and all the good stuff—is just another reason why.
Noble Rot Soho image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Roast Chicken, Morels & Vin Jaune, Riz au Pilaf

The showstopper. The must-order. The one you'll tell your kids about. Whatever you want to call it, this is it. We could say that they had us at 'roast chicken' but it's the earthy morel mushrooms, the noticeably boozy vin jaune sauce and, also, that rice? Perfect rice is something to behold. Especially when it's mopping all of this up.
Noble Rot Soho image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Chocolate Mousse, Brandy Prune & Hazelnut Biscuit

This is described as a mousse and ganache hybrid, but a better description would be ‘a non-sharer’. The mousse is sweet and not too rich—a milk and dark mashup—and the texture is temptingly spreadable. Yes, we have been thinking about it on toast. Alongside it there’s a shot of brandy masquerading as a prune, plus some cream and a perfectly crisp hazelnut biscuit.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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