Feb 1 2014

House of Ho

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My boyfriend and I love Vietnamese food and are always hunting for new Vietnamese restaurants in London. A few weeks ago when we were walking in Soho my boyfriend noticed the restaurant “House of Ho” and instantly thought it was Vietnamese (I was not so sure and had to google to confirm it was a Vietnamese restaurant). On the next available Saturday evening we made our way to House of Ho for dinner.

House of Ho is not a traditional Vietnamese restaurant, like Cay Tre and Pho, but is a fusion one that combines traditional and modern Vietnamese cuisine and some dishes have a ‘Bobby twist’. In case you are wondering who this Bobby is, it is Bobby Chin, a famous restaurateur and chef with restaurants in Vietnam and delicious cookbooks. He is Half Chinese, Half Egyptian, brought up between England, Egypt and San Francisco and he (just like me) thinks Vietnamese food is “as near to Nirvana as he can imagine – fresh clean flavours, light and healthy and incredibly diverse”. When we were eating our dinner there Bobbi actually came to our table and I recognized him. He asked how the food was. He seemed to stop at every table and chat for a while and make sure everything was ok. He seemed nice and I could have spent longer speaking to him, but he said he had to rush back to the kitchen, which is amazing that he is there.

When we came to House of Ho it was a Saturday, 8pm, the place was packed and we were told we would have to wait 1h for a table (you can actually book this restaurant if you come here, which is such a nice thing, as so few restaurants in Soho allow you to book these days). I was so keen to try this place, I did not mind and we were told to wait by the bar. The wait was not bad at all, it only lasted 15minutes, we got the table much quicker than expected, and we ordered great cocktails and also they give you a free spiced chicken leg to snack on whilst you wait, which was delicious, and much nicer than the nut or olive nibbles you would get elsewhere by the bar. The cocktail that I ordered was called “Ho’rny Devil” and had lemongrass vodka, chilli infused vodka, coconut water and lemongrass syrup and was spicy but tasty at the same time.

The inside of the restaurant is fun, informal and buzzing. The menu is divided into three parts, “light & raw”, “hot and grilled” and “Ho’s dishes” and there are also 4 different sided to have with these dishes, and dishes cost from £4 to £12, and £7 on average. We loved the menu and wanted to have too many things and could not decide what to order. In the end we chose six different dishes and one side and thought it would be too much but was actually not, we finished everything (but were full). We chose three dishes from the “light & raw section”, Pho Cuon Cold Rice Noodle rolls with fillet mignon (you could also have this with wild mushrooms or duck) and they were excellent. The rice noodles were thick and the beef was rolled into it, just delicious when you had them. We also ordered “crab pomelo salad, vegetable noodles, mint, lemon oil & crispy Vietnamese crackers” and “seafood ceviche, prawns, sea bass, scallops, mangosteen, white truffle oil & coconut jus”. The ceviche was incredible, one of the best I have had in London, and it was nicely served in half of a coconut, fresh and delicious. The pomelo salad was equally good, fresh tasting, full of flavor, great.

My review of House of Ho is somewhat boring as all the dishes we had were excellent, mouth-watering. After the delicious light & raw starters we moved on to “hot and grilled” and slightly larger “Ho’s dishes”. The menu is very creative, it is full of dishes you don’t expect to see and that have the Vietnamese flavours but are not traditional Vietnamese. We ordered “BBQ Baby Back Ribs on a light Asian Slaw”, delicious, full of flavor, finger licking, I literally chewed on the bone for a long time. “Lemongrass monkfish with Fish Caramel sauce” was a small portion but insanely delicious and I was so surprised a dish could taste this nice. My boyfriend was really keen to have “apple smoked pork belly, braised cabbage and egg” and it was so soft and much more flavoursome than an average pork belly. The side we ordered was morning glory, nice with the rest of the food.

I loved the food at House of Ho, there is not a dish I did not devour with excitement. The only sad thing is that I did not have my big camera with me during this meal so I can’t show you better pictures of the food and the food presented in the way it should be. I will be coming back to try more dishes from the exciting menu. I think this is one of the most exciting restaurants in London at the moment.

Date: 01/ 02/ 14
Location: Soho
Price for 2 people: £83.25

The House of Ho on Urbanspoon

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I am reducing my rating for House of Ho from 4.5Ms to 4Ms after my latest visit where I did not think the food was as good as during my first visit and I had a bad incident with the service.

I had some of the dishes I had during my last visit like the Pho Cuon (this time with duck which I did not think was as good as steak) and also the seafood ceviche, but mainly ordered new dishes. "Bobby;s Duck 'a la Banana' Blossom Salad" was ok but lacked that freshness and exciting factor that Vietnamese dishes have. I very much enjoyed "Hanoi's Grilled 5 Spice Quails on Crispy Noodles" this was delicious and the dipping sauce of lime, salt, pepper and chilli was amazing with the quail. The 5 spice was pleasant and not too overwhelming. "Smokey Aubergine, Warm Scallion Vinaigrette with Scallions & Crispy Shallots" was super boring for me and the worst dish in my mind on House of Ho's menu, even though I do like aubergines. Just like last time we order "lemongrass monkfish with a fish caramel sauce" but it was not as good and caramelised as last time. It almost looked like they had changed the chef and he had done a worse job. We also ordered a whole deep fried sea bream with the most tangy nice sauce, which my half Vietnamese friend Remy loved (he also loved the monkfish) and it was seriously impressive and a delicious piece of fish with a nice crust. And the best part of the dish was that Bobbi Chinn himself cut up the fish for us so we could eat it. He did it so skilfully. The side dish we ordered tasted burnt and I did not like at all.

At the end of the meal we were asked if we wanted any desserts and Remy ordered a chocolate dessert. After this a very arrogant lady came to our table and told us we only had 10min left and had to vacate the table for others, at which point I said we had ordered a dessert and she backed off. We then had to wait 30min for our dessert and after this long wait I asked the waiters again and they had obviously forgotten about our dessert (and lemongrass tea) and they lied and said they had communication issues and it was coming. The arrogant annoying lady once again came and said it was coming and now she did not seem to mind we were there extra 40min and did not seem to need the table. In the end they did not make us pay for the dessert or lemongrass tea, but it was slightly annoying how they handled the whole thing and how they tried to kick us out.

Because of the slight annoying thing with the waiters and food that I enjoyed just a tiny bit less, still very good, I cut my rating to 4Ms. See also better pictures from my 2nd visit below.

Date: 26/ 03/ 14
Price for 2 people, no alcohol: £100.13

Maija rated: 

4.00

Location: 

House of Ho
57-59 Old Compton Street Soho, W1D 6HP
London
United Kingdom
GB
House of Ho Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4