House of Ho
May 11, 2018
Charismatic television presenter and restaurateur Bobby Chinn’s first London opening occupies a stylish double fronted site in Soho’s Old Compton Street.
An altogether more glamorous operation than the restaurants on the Kingsland Road Pho Mile, the cooking and the drinks here fuse Western and Vietnamese elements to winning effect.
The room is a cool one, low-lit with slatted blinds, tiled floors and throbbing music; a handful of photos on the walls the only real nod to the Vietnamese theme.
There’s no dedicated bar area as of yet though it’s well worth exploring their cocktail menu. The Ho’groni is a zesty take on a favourite aperitif while the Nam Fizz is a simple yet satisfying twist on the Bellini, a mix of lemongrass and Prosecco that slipped down all too easily. The Hanoi Martini is essentially a boozy version of a traditional Vietnamese coffee, sweetened with condensed milk (we liked this a lot).
The food menu is divided into Light & Raw, Hot & Grilled, Ho’s Dishes, and various sides: plates are designed to be shared. Mushroom pho cuon rolls were a surprisingly earthy and rich take on a Vietnamese staple and we really liked the light and refreshing crab and pomelo salad. Monkfish, served with the faintly disconcertingly named fish caramel sauce, turned out to be one of our favourite dishes of the evening, meltingly tender if rather aggressively priced.
The fact that some dishes seemed incredibly generous for the price point, while others appeared stingy was one of the only things which gave us pause, that and the fact the (very tasty) salmon tartare turned up well after the rest of our hot dishes. Desserts seemed a bit safe crßme brulee, ice cream, chocolate cake and none of them really appealed, so we opted for one of those coffee-laced martinis and we left very happy as a result.