Soho has long been one of my favourite places to visit in London. It is one of the three things I always do whenever I’m in the capital due to the sheer abundance of restaurants, cafes, bakeries and bars. The fact it is so central also makes Soho an ideal base for visitors to the city with the nearest tubes either Oxford Circus or Leister Square. If you are looking for somewhere to stay when visiting London, Hotels.com offer a great selection of hotels* in the Soho area.
Soho also has lots more to offer than just food. Soho is in the heart of the West-End, offering an iconic London night out. For a more laid-back theatre experience, there is Soho Theatre where there are plenty of productions and comedy shows on offer.
Soho is also great for shopping. It borders Oxford Street and Regent Street, but Old Compton Road and Berwick Street offer quirky independent shops and boutiques that are well worth taking a stroll down. You have also got the infamous Carnaby Street, bursting with life and flashy lights – this street is the epitome of London.
Soho is a great area, my favourite in the whole of London, but I am all about that food.
Now, I am not a Londoner. I’m a Devon girl, who tries to visit London at least three or four times a year as a) all my friends live there and b) the food. It’s quite lucky I do have friends who live in London, as otherwise, I’d only be visiting London to eat. Which doesn’t sound so bad actually….
So, these recommendations may not be anything new or particularly ground-breaking, but these are my favourite places to eat in Soho and I would quite literally walk the 200 odd miles from North Devon to London for every single restaurant on this list.
Lunch and Dinner
We first experienced Bone Daddies a few years ago when we visited Flesh and Buns in Covent Garden, so when I found out that they had another Japanese restaurant in Soho, I knew we wouldn’t be disappointed. Shack-Fuyu offers a range of western-style Japanese dishes such as bao buns, sushi, maki rolls and, rice dishes and katsu curry.
On the menu, you can opt for four to five small plates to share, or have a small plate as a starter and then a main such as a curry or meat dish. We opted to order a few bits, so we could sample a few different dishes. The food comes as and when it is ready, which I personally like as it saves you from eating things too quickly.
As a vegetarian, there was a lot of dishes for me to choose from. We started with edamame, followed by the miso aubergine topped with bubu arare, the most delicious Japanese rice crackers that added a fantastic crunchy texture to the aubergine. David opted for the crispy fried squid, which also got a thumbs up.
Next, we had bao buns, mine aubergine, David crispy duck – which again were delicious and ever so moreish. Finally, we shared a veggie hot stone rice, which David and I both agreed was the most delicious thing we had ever eaten. Okay, perhaps not ever but man it was good. The rice comes in a stone bowl, sizzling from the oven. It is presented quite neatly, the rice, herbs and vegetables all separate, with a raw egg on top. The waiter then stirred all the ingredients together, quite vigorously, which allowed for the egg to cook and the rice to go nice and crunchy. We shared the rice, but we could have easily had one each – it was so good!
We didn’t opt for dessert, but I was tempted. Japanese french toast served with ice-cream sounded insane.
China town, located in the south of Soho has a wealth of restaurants to choose from. As a vegetarian, my go to is always a steamed veggie bun, which I get from a tiny little shop next door to the famous Jen Cafe (Jen Cafe do amazing dumplings and you can watch them make them in the window).
I’m not sure what it is called because the shop sign is in Chinese, but it is located on Newport Court. Its a white shop, with red lettering (it is very small!), and they do steamed buns (pork or veggie) for £2.50. Bargain!
To wash it down, I always head down a couple of shops to Happy Lemon for a bubble tea – I love passion fruit and mango!
Words cannot describe how utterly divine Dishoom is. We visited quite early, 12pm, and the place was already heaving – a testament to how popular the food is. We were shown our seats, handed the extensive menu and we clearly looked overwhelmed by all the choice as the family who were sat next to us pointed us in the right direction and shared their own recommendations.
As advised by our kind neighbours, we opted to have a few small plates, before we ordered our mains. Similar to Shack-Fuyu, the food arrived as and when it was ready meaning we could eat a lot more! The first dishes to arrive were the Behel (a fresh salad with puffed rice, bombay mix, pomegranate, lime, tomato and mint) and Okra Fries – a crunchy vegetable deep fried in a spicy curry flavouring.
We then had the lime and chilli chared corn (absolutely delicious!) and a Pau Bhaji, a bowl of mashed vegetables that is served with a home-made bun which you use to dip into the spicy vegetable mash. The bun was so light and pillow-y, and the vegetables were beautifully spiced.
For our mains, I went for the creamy house black dhal, while David went for the chicken ruby curry, who said the chicken was so tender. To mop it up we ordered a bowl of rice to share, along with roomali roti, a thin griddle flat bread. Everything was so fresh and full of flavour, without blowing your head off. The authenticity is what makes this place so popular and will certainly have me back next time I’m in London.
Top tip! Order a mint tea with your meal, it will help with digestion and make you able to squeeze in a bit more!
Crumbs and Dollies
Crumbs and Dollies is the creation of Cupcake Jemma, a Youtube sensation who started out on Jamie Olivers Food Tube. I had been following Jemma ever since she appeared in 2013, so was thrilled when she opened her own shop about three years ago. Her cupcakes are great and inventive (the buttercream is so light it is like eating a cloud!), but for me the brownies are the real star of the show. The flavours change every day, but if you can get your hands on a cookie-dough brownie you are in for a treat.
Right opposite Crumbs and Dollies is Bread Ahead, an artisan bakery that started life in Borough Market. I have only ever tried their doughnuts, which are traditional filled jammy doughnuts, but with their own rich creamy fillings. Choose from jam, chocolate of salted caramel (so, so good). They also do a range of breads, cakes, bakes and a deli-style salad bar. If you want good quality without frills or fuss, Bread Ahead is the place for you.
After seeing Chin Chin ice-cream everywhere on Instagram, I certainly had to see what all the fuss was about. We were met with an extremely strange selection of ice-cream flavours, including tonka bean and coffee and olive oil, but we ended up opting for burnt butter caramel in a strawberry waffle cone, on top of toasted marshmallow. It was an explosion of sugar which we both struggled to eat (despite sharing it!), but we both agreed it was unlike anything we had ever had before.
The ice-cream was so creamy and packed a punch of flavour – the buttery caramel was so rich. While a great photo op, the waffle cone detracted from the amazing flavour of the ice-cream and next time I would just opt for the ice-cream on its own. Plus I am intrigued by tonka bean ice-cream…
More doughnuts? Why yes. If you don’t fancy Bread Ahead’s traditional filled doughnut then why not go for Crosstown doughnuts, the funky, alternative doughnut made using a sour-dough base. Crosstown do more experimental flavours including peanut butter and berry, yuzu and passionfruit or matcha. I’ve tried the cinnamon scroll, yuzu and pistachio and lemon and all were absolutely delicious.
They also offer a wide selection of vegan doughnuts too. Everything is made fresh on the day, including the fillings and the often have seasonal doughnuts on offer (such as pumpkin spice doughnuts!).
Soho is one of my favourite areas in London to eat and there are TONS more restaurants that I am desperate to try. Have you been to any of the ones I have mentioned? What do I need to add to my list?
*This post was in collaboration with Hotels.com, who kindly gifted me spending money to show off my favourite parts of Soho. Of course, all Soho-loving views are my own.
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