So the arrival of this celebrity chef and his House of Ho in London has been hotly anticipated by foodie inhabitants of the capital as one of the top attractions London now has to offer. Chinn, born in New Zealand of Chinese-American and Egyptian stock and with a restaurant empire based in Vietnam, brings the legacy of his mixed heritage to the table, and Western polish to the service.
His restaurant fits perfectly into the Soho gastro-landscape; it’s all tight squeezes, small sharing plates, and a concise menu. But it also promises an unusual fusion experience. The House of Ho menu offers flavours and concepts drawn not only from the Far East, but also inspired by Western food culture – tofu with vermicelli in tomato sauce, for example.
You’d expect the cocktails to be killer in this environment, and indeed, they kick ass. As do the interesting selection of sakes (another fusion twist). The menu is broken down into manageable sections and it’s recommended you try at least one from each. Grazers will love the light and raw dishes – exquisite ceviche and rice noodle rolls are a highlight – but there are plenty of heartier options on offer also and if you’re an Asian food connoisseur, you might find your eyes bigger than your stomach.
Thanks to the integrated approach to cooking here, there are some surprises when our food arrives, with quirky ingredients we hadn’t seen elsewhere. Stir-fried egg chayote squash, anyone? If we had to choose, it’s the ‘Shaking Beef’ fillet, featuring perfectly tender, peppered pieces of beef, that seals the deal, as well as the crisp sea-bream with coriander dressing (warning, it comes deep-fried, whole, and on the bone).
Puddings don’t tend to be much fun in the Far East, so Chinn has imported a sensible element of chocolate to the menu, with a fondant-style cake. And it’s one of the best we’ve had in ages. House of Ho is reasonably priced and huge fun – in fact your only gripe will be getting a table. Although booking for House of Ho is key, Chinn's restaurant should be high priority on any list of places to visit in London.
|What||House of Ho, Soho|
|Where||House of Ho, 55-59 Old Compton Street, W1D 6HW | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Piccadilly Circus (underground)|
04 Mar 14 – 31 Oct 15, 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book a table|