My parents celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary recently so they took Steve and I out for dinner. They let me choose the restaurant (yes please) and because they only gave me 3 days notice, the choice was limited. Fortunately I was able to snag a Friday night reservation at Little Social in Mayfair. I'd been wanting to visit Jason Atherton's Social restaurants for a while now so I was delighted to have one reservation under my belt despite them being around for a few years.
Little Social is the sister restaurant of Michelin starred Pollen Street Social which is really high on my must visit list. It specialises in British-French cuisine with a menu of spruced up classic dishes. The prices are on the higher end of the London dining scene which makes this a special occasion sort of place in my eyes but now that I've visited I can definitely say it's 100% worth it.
I am not a huge wine drinker so I normally start dinner with a cocktail (or two). Nothing on the menu jumped out but when I told the waiter I normally enjoy a gin sour, she recommended a non alcoholic drink with my choice of gin. I went for Sipsmiths, YOLO my Dad was paying, but to be perfectly honest I don't think it really mattered. The drink was punchy and sour, just how I like them. This was quite possibly the best cocktail I've ever had, so much in fact that I ended up drinking 3 and forgoing the wine, expect for a small glass of red, completely. I can't remember what the drink was called but it had cucumber, mint, and citrus fruit in there, think a sour twist on a classic gin and tonic, totally divine.
To start, Steve ordered the carrot salad which had a lovely fresh taste thanks to the orange and fennel. I only tried a small bit but it really was lovely and a nice light dish to proceed a meatier main course.
My Mum doesn't eat much so I shared the scallops with her. This was a stand out plate for me. First of all I was quite impressed with the size of the portion. Scallops can sometimes be pathetically small but when you're paying £15.50 you don't want to be short changed in the shellfish department. The combination of avocado purée, dashi jelly and apple was sublime. Scallops have such a delicate taste that it's hard not to obscure them but these 'light' ingredients complemented the silky meat and really made this a spectacular dish. I tasted only the mildest amount of wasabi and the texture of the soft scallops, purée and jelly combined with the crunchy fruit really was wonderful.
My Mum surprisingly ordered the burger which I didn't even taste in the end. She said it was lovely and I must say this it did look delicious. The meat looked quite pink and it held it's shape pretty well.
I completely forgot to take a picture of Steve's cottage pie (£21.00) but I did taste it and I can report back they it was divine. Rich beef in thick gravy topped with creamy mash, it was absolutely heavenly. It came presented in a cast iron dish which meant it stayed piping hot throughout the duration of our meal, a nice touch I thought.
40-day aged Hereford grilled rib-eye steak served with béarnaise and peppercorn sauce, beef dripping chips & salad (£79.00)
The pièce de résistance was the steak I shared with Dad. Normally this is served medium but Dad and I like are meat cooked as little as possible so we asked for it blue. Our waiter told us that was fine but it would take longer than usual to prepare as the meat needs to be brought to room temperature (1 hour) before cooking. This is not so much the case when serving meat medium but when you cook a steak rare or blue this is critical, otherwise it'll stay super cold in the middle. We had quite a long wait between our starters and mains but it was 100% worth it as this was one of the best beef dishes I have ever had. The steak was (un)cooked perfectly rare and the meat literally melted in your mouth like butter. We were given steak knives but this really wasn't necessary as the meat was so soft. The steak has a wonderful, intense taste thanks to the 40 days it was aged and the exterior had a very slightly hint of caramelisation which is impressive considering a blue steak is not cooked for very long.
We were each given a portion of chips and a side salad plus the steak was served with béarnaise and peppercorn sauce. The béarnaise was wonderful, it was quite thick but absolutely gorgeous. At first we thought we were going to struggle to finish the meat as there was quite a lot on the board but we devoured every late bite as it really was that delicious.
This was an expensive dish and something I probably would never order unless someone else was paying but if you are a meat lover than I cannot recommend it enough.
To accompany our sides were ordered a side dish of horseradish mash (£5.50) and tenderstem broccoli (6.00). Both were lovely, the broccoli had a lovely bite and the mash was extremely creamy and indulgent with a strong hint of horseradish.
We finished our meal with the tarte tatin to share. Considering it was for two people it was pretty big and I guess the 4 scoops of ice cream that came on the side was so we could have one each. The tarte was lovely, crispy pastry and sweet, sticky apples.
When I booked I left a note on the online reservation form to say it was my parents anniversary. When we asked for the bill my parents were presented with a little black box that contained the most perfect looking chocolate and orange mousse. Mum doesn't like chocolate and after some obscene jokes she gave the box to Steve and myself to take home. The next day we tucked into the mousse which was absolutely delicious. It was extremely rich and tasted a bit like a super posh jaffa cake. Moral of the story, always mention if you're dinning for a special occasion as you might be lucky enough to get a little something on the house.
Our meal at Little Social could not have been more perfect. The restaurant itself is lovely with a rather relaxed but chic vibe. I loved the red leather booths but we were lucky enough to seat in the window seat which I personally think is the best table in the restaurant as you're ever so slightly removed from everyone else. The service was impeccable and the food was beyond wonderful. Yes it's on the pricey side but the quality of the dishes is outstanding.