I accidentally walked into a Michelin-Starred restaurant…
I didn’t know! Social Eating House kept popping up as I was googling ‘best restaurants in London’. I figured, sure, let’s try it. So, I just booked a reservation here for my final dinner in Europe with my wife. We showed up, and within a minute we were at our table, greeted by friendly staff.
I’m kicking myself today at not having known that Social Eating house was awarded a Michelin Star the very week we were in London from now through 2018. It was actually my first time going to a restaurant of such caliber, and I blew it. We were so full from having had another Afternoon Tea at the Lanes of London a few hours earlier, that my wife and I didn’t think we had room for anything other than the main course. So that’s all we had, and we were content! Then we walked outside, about to leave for the nearest Tube station, when it appeared out of the corner of my eye. There it was, newly minted, the big red Michelin Star plaque.
There is a silver lining – since I didn’t know about the Michelin Star, I truly went in blind, with only the expectation that the food, whatever it is that they served, would be good.
I didn’t know the food would be THIS good.
We were served (let’s just call it for what it was) practically a loaf’s worth of bread. It was excellent, crunchy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. The butter, however, steals the show. It was a smoked butter with sea salt on top. You don’t need a lot of it, the smokiness hits you right away.
After looking at the main course menu, we decided on duck and fish.
A sommelier came over to our table and asked if we were in the mood for wine, and told him we wanted something that paired well with duck, and another wine that would pair with fish. After suggesting a Pinot Noir from New Zealand for my duck, I had a taste, and admittedly it was a little bitter. Either way, I trusted his opinion (who do I think I am anyway), and ordered a large glass. His suggestion came to be the best pairing of wine with a dish that I’ve had.
I ordered my duck with a side of Triple Cooked Duck Fat Chips.
Before I continue, have I mentioned that Europe is big on fries?
I probably ate more fries eating at nice restaurants in Europe than I have in my entire year in the United States. That is not an overstatement. Practically every other dish, sometimes consecutive meals, came with fries. This time, the duck at Social Eating House did not come with fries. I ordered them on my own volition. Perhaps I grew into this fry-eating habit that week and I was experiencing withdrawals, but I just figured duck fat fries must go well with, well, duck. The fries were nice and crispy, soft centered, and rich. They were thicker chips too, it felt satisfying to eat them. Needless to say, they were delicious.
Onto the duck. Ladies and Gentlemen, their duck is exquisite. It almost didn’t feel like I was eating a bird, it honestly felt like I was eating a steak, medium rare, just a little less fibrous. Our server prepared the dish like a steak too, dressing it with a bit of the ol’ Au Jus right at our table. Kale and blackberries (AKA Cavolo Nero and Brambles in the UK) draped the dish. I thought these were smart choices, they just went so well with the duck! The blackberries it gave the dish a nice, refreshing sweetness and tartness when the fat would get a bit too rich. The kale also helped in this regard, lending a bit of crisp at its ends.
Remember that wine I told you about? The blackberry from the dish opened up a lot of dark berry flavor in the Pinot Noir, like black currant and blueberry! I wish I had more! The dish was served with a side of Potato Confit, which I wonder if it was also cooked in duck fat as well, because it was not greasy at all! I am, however, glad I ordered the side of fries – I felt I was lacking a little bit of food for a main course. Then again, we did not order a starter…
I took a few bites of my wife’s dinner as well (we like to share first bites). I could easily come back for what she had as well! Admittedly, I can’t say much about her dish, but I recall that her fish (hake) was so soft and flaky, best eaten with a nice helping of that sauce poured right at the table for us. The baked potato was covered in a delicious, herbaceous dollop of cream, and was a very comforting bite!
We were deciding on dessert, but we picked up so many sweets from traveling Europe that we decided to head back to the hotel for it. Why we thought to do this, I have no idea…Judging by how well our dinner was going, we should have done dessert here.
I had an excellent dinner here, and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting London. If I ever find myself in London again, I’m trying this restaurant once more. I am very curious as to what Social Eating House is doing with their starters and desserts. They all seem so creative! Charcoal Mayonnaise? Onion Marmelade? Nutmeg ice cream? Whaaaat