Restaurant Review: Bo Drake, Greek St in Soho, London
It’s a mild Thursday evening in mid May. The almost forgotten sunshine has warmed the pavements encouraging stubborn Londoners to line every street corner; their customary beer in hand. And so on this Thursday evening we weave and dodge our way through the commotion from an overcrowded bar near Carnaby Street to Bo Drake on Greek Street. Similar to every other neighbouring bar and restaurant in Soho, Bo Brake looked unwelcomingly crowded behind its black facade. Squeezing ourselves in, the friendly waiter quickly seated us on a small wooden table against the wall in a refreshingly less crowded corner of the restaurant. ‘We recommend selecting seven dishes to share with cocktails’ they say – I looked down at our tiny, round wooden table and wondered how.
Following suggestion we order from their signature cocktails. Dillinger’s Escape: Bourbon, Aperol, Dill & Sage, Lilley Rouge & Absinthe served with a daring green chilli on top – my guest proceeded to prove he wasn’t fazed and bit straight though. I, on the other hand, was presented with what might be and quite possibly was, in contrast, the most feminine cocktail, their Starman: Vodka, Soju, Strawberry, Basil Pink Peppercorns – Pink on Pink, topped with pink foam; a much gentler and sweeter start. Food peaked early, it could be the coincidence of our menu choices or that their starters really are the highlights of this Asian / Euro restaurant, but our expectations were set very high after our first two small, sharing dishes (so good I almost wish they weren’t). These stand-out dishes to head back for are their Pork Belly Bao – confit New Hampshire belly with pickled cucumber and soy glazed peanuts; beautifully tender within soft buns. This, with their ‘KFC’ Korean fried chicken wings finished with soy, garlic and rosemary; the best ‘KFC’ I think I’ll encounter anytime soon – Chicken Cottage, never again.
Indulgent mains include, ‘Bo Saam’ – smoked pulled pork with Ssamjang Kimchi and spring onion oil, (maybe one for another time if it’s anything to go by their pork starter), and Samjang smoked chicken, which describes itself as brown butter mash potato with chicken liver. The remaining two options we had are the smoked rib stack marinated with their Asian BBQ sauce, and the 35 day aged sirloin tataki, served with ponzu, truffled shitake and tofu cream. The ribs had great flavour, but drenched in their ‘Asian BBQ sauce’ and sirloin tataki was impressively blushing and delicately cut and presented; although, and I know I repeat myself here; neither competed with the pork and chicken ‘KFC’ starters.
Sandwiched between these courses, our sides seemed to present themselves as an entire course of their own, as I say our table was miniscule and therefore maybe this is the only way possible. With this enjoyable, but slightly odd interlude we had ordered their sweet potato fries and their edamame and mozzarella pancakes; recommended to us by the waitress. These so called popular pancakes were folded and almost looked like mexican quesadillas, complete with more than enough stringy mozzarella. The combo of this with edamame; definitely a first.
A young, lively and rapid ambience; Bo Drake is a restaurant that embodies modern Soho. This unique Asian / Euro combination is a popular one (it seems to be with us Londoners anyway). The exotic but also familiar menu draws together the most preferred aspects of what you might find in any given modern Japanese or European restaurant and creates a new and exciting twist. Some may argue this fusion is an insult to their well respected culinary heritages; although for now, Bo Drake and its self-assured menu cater to Greek Street quite nicely.
Address: 6 Greek St, London W1 4DE, 020 7439 9989, bodrake.co.uk