I’m a big fan of Valentine’s Day and all things heart-shaped, so with that special romantic day falling on a Sunday this year, Mr S and I decided to make a whole weekend of it. Kind of like my birthday – I love drawing out an occasion as long as possible, can we have a whole Valentine’s month please?
I loved the Vietnamese food served House of Ho in Soho and I was keen to try the restaurant at its new premises on Percy Street. It’s all change actually, a new chef, new menu and a whole new dining experience. The restaurant in Soho is still there but it’s been renamed Ho Modern Vietnamese and has kept that very casual look that I liked. House of Ho on Percy Street, is slightly more formal but still very relaxed with comfy leather banquettes, huge ceiling fans and a small open kitchen.
The previous occupant of the venue was a restaurant called Bambou, also serving Vietnamese food, a place that I loved and meaningful to us as we had date there very early on in our relationship. Before Mr S had discovered how ‘quirky’ I can be…The venue is actually a four storey townhouse and as well as the ground floor restaurant, there’s a wine room, three private dining rooms and a lounge bar.
The menu looked amazing and I wanted to try everything! The chef is now Ian Pengelley who trained in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Vietnam and has been executive chef at Gilgamesh, Mango Tree and Chai Wu. The menu at House of Ho is inspired by Ian’s own travels in Vietnam and includes lots of small plates and a selection of larger main courses.
Mr S and I love sharing lots of small plates so we went ahead and ordered some of the best sounding nibbles, starting with the summer rolls. Summer rolls are very traditional Vietnamese food, and these consisted of prawns, vegetables and rice noodles wrapped in rice paper and served with a peanut sauce. They were light, fresh and crisp – the perfect way to kick off our feast.
The restaurant manager told us that the dumplings are a must order and once again it was hard to choose – the dim sum selection all looked amazing! We went ahead and ordered steamed chicken dumplings and prawn and sea bass dim sum. Both were beautifully made and delicious and came with a tasty soy dipping sauce.
I have to say that the portions were bigger than we thought they’d be and as our dishes arrived it became apparent that we’d over ordered. Yes, I know food bloggers are supposed to be bottomless pits but it was a shame to waste the food that we didn’t eat! We really enjoyed the calamari which had a light tempura batter and well-flavoured with garlic and onion – delicious though not ideal for Valentine’s day kisses! The calamari came with a sweet chilli dipping sauce but what I really thought it needed was a good burst of acidity and I asked for an extra wedge of lemon.
Imperial rolls stuffed with pork were less successful for me, I found them really heavy and stodgy and Mr S and I left most of these.
The barbecue pork ribs that Mr S ordered came in a much bigger portion that we expected and though I rarely see Mr S not finish a portion of ribs he did leave some on his plate. That’s not to say he didn’t enjoy them – he definitely did – but we really did order too much.
For our main course we ordered one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, the ‘shaking’ beef made with 30 day-aged Aberdeen Angus in a soy based sauce. The chef apparently shakes the pan as he sears the beef hence the name. This was probably our favourite dish of the night we loved the perfectly cooked cubes of the beautiful quality meat and the Vietnamese broccoli was the perfect accompaniment.
Staff were lovely and accommodating and our waiter suggested that we order the special Valentine’s cocktail which actually came with a complimentary dessert…
Isn’t it cute? I genuinely think things taste so much better when they’re heart-shaped!
Mr S and I really loved the food at House of Ho but I’m not quite sure it’s right for a date place. It’s actually the perfect place to go with a group as the atmosphere is so relaxed. Plus if there’s more of you – you can try more of that amazing menu!
House of Ho
1 Percy Street
020 7323 9130