Understated from the outside with no big sign to indicate that you have arrived, which saw me frantically searching around making sure that I had got the right place. Thankfully there is a menu box on the wall that helped to calm my rising panic. Once you have entered the front door you proceed through a curtain to find a long, rather thin, well polished room with low lighting and lots of waitresses in smart unifrom. There is a dark wooded bar on the left hand wall with bar stools so you can be seated. There are two small tables by the window at the front of the restaurant with the rest of the seating split on either side running all the way to the back. Deep red leather booths on one side and tables of two and four on the other. A secluded curtained table area is situated right at the back for perhaps those more private individuals that don’t want to be noticed?
There was a choice of prix fixe or a la carte menu. It was a lunchtime, I wasn’t feeling extravagant and the pennies are already starting to pinch, so prix fixe it was. £21 for 2 courses and £25 for three. Service is not included and is 12.5% Our tactic was to go for starter and main so we still had the option to have all three courses if we fancied something sweet after.
Starter: ‘Grilled Marinated Salmon, sugar snaps, cucumber, watercress, sorrel. What actually came was grilled marinated salmon, radish, coriander and baby gem that was lightly dressed. I say that with conviction like I registered this difference at the time of eating, when in fact I did not. Not that I would have done anything about it anyway as it was delicious. They may have had a fight on their hands had they tried to take it away! However, whatever the reason for the customisation i’m not complaining. The salmon was lightly grilled and was still raw in the centre so that it melted in your mouth. The marinade was a gentle sweetness that tasted a bit like a light teriyaki. The French sometimes make marinades out of vinegar and sugar and therefore this might have been a sherry vinegar that was used? The texture and sweetness of the salmon was a really nice contrast against the crunchiness and freshness of the radish. The coriander was a nice strong flavour that worked well with the crisp baby gem leaves.
Ed had the slow cooked tuna nicoise tartine.
For main it was a massive toss-up between the chorizo sausages and braised lamb shank. Ed sat in the same boat for this so he politely let me choose as we agreed that we shouldn’t have the same. I finally opted for the roasted chorizo sausages, mash, greens and onion gravy. Ed had the braised lamb shank, smoked bacon and haricot bean ragout.
The chorizo sausages had a lovely smokey flavour to them and were lightly cooked. The gravy was slightly sweet and the mash was deliciously creamy both complimenting each other. Greediness got the better of me and I tasted some of Ed’s lamb dish. Well, he did offer. Admittedly it was only after I had offered him some of mine and therefore he probably felt inclined to offer the same! Sorry Ed, I am forever in your debt! The lamb was beautifully cooked, moist and really tender, the roasted onion puree was sweet and had a light fluffy texture which worked really well with the lamb jus. No regrets on my part for having a cheeky taste test!
It was agreed that we both had a small bit of room left for something sweet and therefore both opted for the poached Yorkshire rhubarb Eton mess, rhubarb sorbet. The other dessert included chocolate and unfortunately I am off chocolate for lent. The rhubarb was nicely poached with a gentle bite left to it, the meringue was nicely light and crunchy. The sorbet was really refreshing and zesty with a slight hint of mint. Needless to say I savoured each mouthful and scraped the bowl clean.
Everything was cooked to perfection as one would expect from a Jason Atherton restaurant. The food was very nice but nothing mind blowing. Little Social is intimate, friendly and ‘just so’, if I was to summarise in three words. Given an extra three and I would say sleek, refined and french…because it is rather, french!
Star rating 7/10