I can’t explain House of Ho’s less than salubrious name to you, but it’s newly relaunched Rock n Roll brunch is an entity I’m only too happy to tell you all about.
Like other bottomless brunches hitting London (Roka in Canary Wharf, Cookbook Cafe) – it’s a simple enough concept. Bottomless Prosecco, yes you did read that right, UNLIMITED Prosecco is yours for a period of 2 hours served with a pretty generous serving of Chef Bobby’s Chin fusion-Vietnamese cuisine, ready to turn your Sundays into sessions of gluttony.
This is a place designed for the night, perhaps a nod to the salacious night time activities of Soho. The interiors are dark and sexy and with 90’s rock tunes playing inside, many of the diners are singing along and jiggling about in their chairs doing their version of the Prosecco-fuelled Rock n Roll chair dance. Resistance is futile, you too will find yourself singing along as the Prosecco hits the bloodstream and the food starts arriving.
Ordering is very simple, sip on your lychee bellinis, munch on some hot edamame and consider what sharing plates you’d like and what particular main you fancy.
Between the husband and I, we choose pretty much everything and we’re grinning from ear to ear, this is the sort of ordering we can really get behind! Yes, we’ll have one of well, almost everything please. For mains, I’ve heard a lot about the Shaking beef so that is what I’ve plumped for and Husband who has a contrary fondness for Vietnamese chicken curry, goes for this option. I say contrary, because I don’t particularly like chicken curry and I’m pretty confident he does this to avoid me eating his. Which sadly for him, happens to most of his meals.
Do not be fooled, the starters are nothing of the sort. They are immense and filling enough to be counted as mains in their own right! Choosing a favourite is almost like choosing a favourite child, the Imperial rolls are hot and crispy, the Pomelo salad so light and refreshing, the Chilli chicken wings are just begging to be gnawed at with little thought to decorum and the squid beautifully soft. The stuffed tofu didn’t sing to me, stuffed with a vermicelli/veg mix and the Duck Pho Cuon was simply ok, but they still contributed to the overall delight of the entrée table.
So hefty are these starters that we overhear the neighbouring table ask for a pause on the food and just as we’re about to jump gleefully on this idea, our mains come wafting out of the kitchen and so we plough gamely on. The shaking beef is tender and you can feel the peppercorns shaking in the back of your throat, washed down with some tender Morning Glory, or Vietnamese water spinach. The morning glory could use a bit more of a kick to it as it’s simply stir-fried vegetables otherwise and I feel like it needs something else to bring it alive.
Husband pronounces his chicken curry delicious but cannot work his way through it – in any other meal he says, those potatoes soaked in fragrant curry would be the first thing he devours, but he’s just too defeated by what has come before.
We do get a bit of a pause before dessert and since I’m not Prosecco-ing, I decide to indulge in a mocktail. Few mocktails come as pretty as this Swordless Samurai with pineapple and apple juices, Grenadine and a chilli mix for spice. It’s delicious but a little bit too sweet after the richness of the meal we’ve just scoffed and I wouldn’t have said no to it having a bit more spice in there either.
Dessert is crème brulee and while Husband’s eyes light up, I ask for an alternative as I’m not a huge crème brulee fan. Luckily they’re willing to swap it out for a selection of ice creams and while on any other day that may be the more boring option, I’m pleased that they’re able to offer me something I do actually like, so I’m quite happy with my chocolate and vanilla scoops while Husband is equally happy digging into his crème brulee.
If there’s but one thing I don’t really get, it’s the name. There are cute references to it with this little page declaring it an Abba free zone, but I think the name should either be made to mean something or ignored totally. Right now it feels like a bit of a mish mash. But you don’t go to a restaurant for what it’s called do you. Otherwise none of us would ever go to places that chefs name after themselves!
Till the bitter end, they’re promptly topping us (him) up with fizz and the 2 hours has gone by rather fast considering we’ve barely had a pause in the eating for those two hours. In terms of value for money, this is right up there – Roka ranks up there with our favourite boozy brunch and they’re not really comparable at all as Roka is all Japanese and unlimited food, but in any case House of Ho is going firmly on the list as one of our new favourite brunches.
It’s fantastic for a group of friends to go, for under £30 a head you can all eat and drink handsomely and not have to worry too much about a bill that’s going to spiral out of control. I’ll be recommending it to a friend(s) very soon, so keep your eyes peeled, you’ll probably see me there soon.
House of Ho can be found at 55 Old Compton St, Soho, W1D 6HW. I highly recommend you book the brunch, you don’t want to be disappointed!
Disclosure: I was a guest of the House of Ho.