Soho is a major foodie hub of London (as well as a gay one, of course), with new restaurants always opening meaning there is always something new to try. The latest venue is Old Compton Brasserie on Old Compton Street. We at Vada popped in to try out what this new restaurant is like.
Old Compton Brasserie
Old Compton Brasserie aim to serve up modern British food with cocktails created by The Talented Mr Fox. The venue is split into three zones (bar, restaurant and mezzanine) curved around the horse shoe bar, which acts as the focal point of the venue. Old Compton Brasserie emulates a cosy, chic atmosphere encased within exposed brick walls. An original infinity mirror light installation encapsulates the essence of Soho nightlife whilst stained glass and hand painted murals provide splashes of colour. Art fans will notice the Anna Laurini paintings, and other pop art including of Kate Moss and Twiggy, adorning the walls. In short the scene the is perfectly set for dinner.
We were surprised to find that even on a Tuesday night, the venue was completely packed. We weren’t sure whether Old Compton Brasserie were understaffed or just not trained to cope with a full venue, but the effect was clumsy service.
For us this meant waiting a long time for between being given menus and being able to place an order with anyone. Also when choosing wine, it was more of a game of short straws where all the straws are short. After ordering a bottle we were told 5 minutes later it was out of stock, only to be recommended another, which after another 5 minutes transpired was also out of stock. Finally settling on a maetierra dominum Rioja Gavanza reserva 2013.
We also witnessed the table next to us had their mains arrive before their starters. For those who can tolerate chaos the service should not be a problem, otherwise you are forewarned.
The (Talented Mr Fox) drinks menu at least did not disappoint, we chose a Notting Heels (made with Tanqueray gin, Cointreau, cranberry and ginger tonic) (£9) and an Aperol Spritz (£10) to sip whilst deciding the menu.
Starters arrived in the form of a well-formed Pork & Pistachio Terrine (£7) and a Tempura Prawn Taco (£8.50). We enjoyed the terrine, with kitsch colours and contrasting textures; however the prawn taco wasn’t enticing enough to choose again.
Main courses were meat with sides of the best carbs, that is to say Grilled Lamb Rump (£22) with a side of Truffle Mac & Cheese (£5), and Steak Frites (£28) with a Heritage Tomato Salad (£4.50) just for some colour. The meat was good but not great, but the moreish mac n cheese was devoured with gusto. A point on the salad: heritage tomatoes are vibrant and varied in colour, the best way to show off their best feature is to drizzle lightly with a good extra Virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, not douse with a creamy sauce hiding their glorious technicolour.
Dessert choices increased the overall average of the food offerings, with a Chocolate Orange Mousse (£7), and dare-we-state the best Rum Baba (£7) in London. Heavily oozing with sweet rum sauce, the yeast cake was the only serious food envy moment of the night.
For a relaunched venue in the middle of a buzzing London food scene, the interior is well executed, but service left us concerned, perhaps this will improve over time. Cocktails (all around the £10 price point) and carbs (mac n cheese, and rum baba cake) stood out as our favourite parts of the meal from an otherwise average modern British menu. For two people sharing 3 courses and bottle of wine, the price per person is circa £60 (plus service).
Old Compton Brasserie is located at 34-36 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TT