Very stylish interiors, spirited cocktails, surprisingly good food and groovy music make 100 Wardour St a discreet hit, writes Sarah Bonfield
Walking amid the post-work hustle and bustle of Wardour Street in Soho, a giant neon sign glows with the number ‘100’. Positioned between two four-story buildings, the restaurant conveniently so-named is nestled away. But what a surprise – the front of the restaurant in no way reveals the cavernous size once inside.
Housed on the same site as the deceased Marquee Club – which hosted performances from icons such as the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix – 100 Wardour St has big boots to fill.
Entering the dimly lit upstairs dining and bar area, welcoming staff lead us down the spiralling staircase to a bigger dining area, bar and a stage, where each night there’s a different genre of music with live performances. I was served Motown Wednesday – and what a soulful evening it was.
Seated in prime position for a stage view, the cocktail menu arrives – hurrah! I begin with Dark side of the Force, which is definitely an acquired taste. Deep purple and extremely alcoholic, this cocktail is not for the faint hearted. My companion bravely sipped on a classic long island iced tea as the waiter took our order.
We enjoyed warm French bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which happily soaked up the alcoholic cocktails, and waited for the performance to begin at 9pm.
The starter arrived before the music and did not disasppoint: the pea and mint soup with shallot tortellini was a welcome surprise. The shallot tortellini was the winning feature, taking the pea soup to the next, more exciting, culinary level. My companion had the gin and tonic cured salmon, with dill mayonnaise and soda bread crumble. It was a success; her roar of approval was loud enough to interrupt the conversation at the next table. The bitterness of the gin and tonic complimented the fish — a unique dish. So far 100 Wardour St has impressed.
Next, we ordered more cocktails — the new menu was too tempting not to. After deliberating, we both decided to go for Baby Steps — a mixture of Caorunn gin, lemon juice and elderflower. Not sure what to expect, we soon found out: our table looked like a science lab – two beakers, one filled with a green liquid, the other filled with three syringes arrived. Each syringe contained the gin, the lemon and elderflower, which we squirted, according to our own taste, into the green breaker. None of the gin was wasted. Baby Steps went down a treat.
Before long, our mains arrived. My mozzarella risotto, confit San Marzano tomato and basil was a savoury dish of the gods. Delightfully creamy with the mozzarella melted into the rice, the tomato and basil sat on top of the dish showcasing their vibrant colours. I cleared the plate. On the other side of the table, I saw the roasted cod, grilled salad onion and spinach with citrus butter sauce devoured in short order. Fresher than a bracing seafront walk but much, much more fun.
Stomachs sated the performance by Patrick Alan began. The stage – lit up with soothing purple lighting – oozed soul, with songs covered by Martin Gaye, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson Five. People in the audience sang along.
Desserts arrived. Cookie & oat crumble with my chosen chocolate and vanilla ice-cream was a fitting indulgence to end the meal. My companion delved into her warm chocolate pudding, toasted pecan nuts, cranberries and cacao nibs and before long we both sat back in our chairs, swaying along to ‘My Girl’ by The Temptations. A guilty pleasure? You bet.
And with time for just one more glass of wine — and a dance — we left very duly impressed. An evening at 100 Wardour St delivers accumulated pleasures to the senses with food, spirited cocktails and music to match.
Sarah Bonfield is editorial manager of Spear’s