We swung by London's new hotspot for dinner and a few 'Madames'
A bit of an in-the-know trend sprung up on the London restaurant and bar scene a few years ago, where owners of cool new places made them almost deliberately difficult to find. Each dinner out would be preceded by an unwanted Platform 9 ¾ challenge, where you’d walk past a ‘secret’ unmarked door staring at your blue dot on Google maps seven times before realizing you were standing right in front of where you needed to be.
100 Wardour St isn’t adhering to this trend, announcing itself from 150 feet away with a giant neon ‘100’ sign (and, you know, also saving any remaining confusion by naming itself after its address). But even the front of the restaurant doesn’t give away its cavernous dimensions once you’re inside.
Housed on the site of the old Marquee Club, where The Rolling Stones did their very first live performance, the restaurant and bar is split across two levels. Inside, a first floor dining and bar area is linked by a large spiral staircase that sweeps you down to yet more tables and a bar and stage area where a roster of live musicians play every night. There’s a genre for each night of the week: Tuesdays feature new and emerging artists, Wednesdays is Latin and the weekend is reserved for house. Thursdays have recently seen the launch of a Soho Radio residency, featuring DJ sets by the independent station, including an upcoming set by 8-piece band We Used To Make Things.
The buzzing atmosphere is matched by a food and cocktail menu that takes you all the way from unlimited Bloody Mary brunches to late night dinners. We visited on a Friday night, when the place really comes to life at around 9pm with a stylish crowd of after-work folk who looked a bit like extras in a rom-com.
Executive Chef Liam Smith-Laing (previously of Istanbul’s La Petite Maison) has designed a menu that begins with small grilled Robata dishes such as garlic chicken, Japanese-style glazed eel and crispy pork belly to have with your (encouraged) starter cocktail – we tried a couple of the Madame (ciroc, pineau, lemon juice, apple juice and mint) – while for the main course you can go the whole hog (or cow) with a decadent chateaubriand to share, or try one of the delicious restaurant’s handmade pasta dishes.
We were tucking into a molten chocolate pudding just as the first act of the night came on at 10pm. 100 Wardour St is the sort of place you could really settle into until the early hours. The rom-com crowd were starting to dance away just as we were leaving (with plans to come back again for a bigger night).