It might strike you as a little surprising that someone would open their new restaurant right opposite their old one. . . but when that someone is Jason Atherton, you don’t need to worry. Pollen Street Social was the Big Daddy of 2012 eating for me, so I certainly wasn’t going to turn down an invitation to Atherton’s latest venture, Little Social. Forget the sleek, chic PSS. Little Social is all about comfort: tucking your serviette into your collar, drinking a bottle of the excellent house wine, and getting stuck in to some hearty food. But this is no pub grub. Instead, expect warming, flavoursome dishes – perfect for this time of year – with the usual Atherton flair. Especially comforting were the Cauliflower and crayfish risotto and Pan fired sea trout, roasted baby gem, sardine, watercress, and crushed potatoes. Oh, I’m forgetting that bacon; a fatty, salty and naughty accompaniment to the fish. And to finish, we sampled an excellent Goat’s milk rice pudding, rhubarb jam, jam ripple ice cream served in its own kitsch copper pan. To wash it all down: the PSS Selection, Anjou, Clos de l’Elu, Thomas Carsin, Loire, 2011.
It’s hard to believe you’re in Mayfair when the price-quality ratio is so appealing (expect to spend around £30/person).The usual Atherton staff were on hand to ensure a smooth operation that evening (leaving PSS rather in the lurch, as we found at a pre-dinner drink…) But, as ever, Gareth Evans – who is to move to Atherton’s next venture (Social Eating House) – charmed and mixed up a few boozy surprises for us. With questionable décor as befitting any Parisian bistro (mirrors, banquettes, eclectic music) and excellent food to match, Little Social really fits its brief.
Little Social, Pollen Street
Food; 8 Service; 9 Ambience 7
edgeandspoon was a guest of Little Social’s preview night