Published on May 6th, 2014 | by Gavin0
Summary: A cool place to eat and enjoy a cocktail before heading out for a night on the tiles
Are you fed up of the dated, cheesy styling of the stereotypical Italian restaurant? Do you cringe at the larger than life operatic chefs and maître d’? Well how about a new experience; one which challenges the blueprint by playing David Guetta tunes, swaps Bianco for Bellinis, and what’s this I see… a skinny menu? Based in one of the most fashionable parts of London, B Soho is unashamedly trendy. However, I’m a big fan of traditional pizzerias, so this should be an interesting trip.
Located conveniently just off Oxford Street, B Soho is easily reached from Oxford Circus station and far enough to be out of the way from the hectic main road. Once through the doors, the tunes were pumping and the bright lights guided me toward the cocktail bar at the back- it felt a bit like I had just stumbled upon the backdrop of a 90’s hip hop music video. On a sunny Tuesday evening, the place is surprisingly busy for the day after a bank holiday and we’re guided to a table situated next to a mural of Mount Vesuvius- a nod to the restaurant’s Neapolitan roots.
They have just launched a new menu featuring a wider variety of salads and more pasta dishes. Interestingly, apart from the bruschetta there are no specific starter dishes; but the antipasti dishes can be ordered in smaller portions. To begin, we order the traditional Neapolitan bread, Casatiello and arancini risotto balls. Casatiello is a dish I’m unfamiliar with but it’s basically a Sardinian speciality consisting of bread with salami baked in the dough. My description isn’t really doing it justice, as it was extremely moreish and my highlight of the antipasti.
It would have been a close run with the Neapolitan bread, but I found the rich tomato and anchovy sauce to be too overpowering and took away from the excellent freshly baked bread. However, the arancini more than made up for my disappointment. It is one of my favourite Italian snacks that I order at every opportunity and I must take my hat off to them, as these were exceptional. Everything from the crunch of the breadcrumbs to the consistency of the risotto was perfect- my only qualm was that you only get three (note to self: order as main dish next time).
After a carb laden start, I was glad for a long recess before the mains came out. When ordering, we weren’t really considering the holiday body, so our main course included an even more carb heavy shrimp linguine and a pizza- we also ordered grilled chicken to make us feel better about eating so much stodge.
The wood fired pizzas are undoubtedly the star of the show at B-Soho as the menu pretty much revolves around them. The thin, crispy base is as authentic as anything you can find in Naples or London for that matter. They are huge too; easily shareable between two and I highly recommend the Don Rocca with mozzarella, rocket, and Parma ham.
The prawn and shrimp linguine is a good addition to the menu too. My biggest complaint about a lot of restaurants is that they often ration out the shellfish dishes, but I’m pleased to report an abundance of prawns and shrimp working well with a creamy tomato and basil sauce to create an overall very enjoyable dish. If you want a healthy option, the Pollo Alla Griglia flattened grilled chicken isn’t a bad shout, but did find it quite dry.
Dessert was the hardest decision to make; the Nutella pizza was tempting, but after so much bread already, I feared an overdose leading to premature food coma. However, we decided on the equally delectable orange flavoured ricotta cheesecake and mango sorbet. If you find New York style cheesecake too sweet, this is a fab alternative as the zesty mango perfectly plays off against the ricotta.
A concept that works well in theory, but by targeting the trendy crowd, I think it loses the soul I love about Italian restaurants. I make no secret of the fact that I love food, and although the dishes were good, in my opinion it lacked the homely touch that comes with most great ristorantes. A cool place to eat and enjoy a cocktail before heading out for a night on the tiles.
B Soho, 21-22 Poland St, W1F 8QG