South Place Chop House at the 5* South Place Hotel in East London describes itself as “comfort food with particular attention to provenance”. That description doesn’t do justice the originality of its menu. Of course, one could opt for a steak sandwich (served with mouth-watering, red onion marmalade) but also on offer is a good range of creative dishes and refined classics.
Inside is particular, the interior modern, but unassuming. The room itself is split by a banquet-long table dividing the bar and smaller tables. The atmosphere is lively (whether you’re there for breakfast, lunch or dinner) but it’s still an intimate setting if you’re just two people trying to catch up. Something for everyone in the heart of the City.
The Devon Red Chicken Pie sounds tempting, but in the end we both opt for the evening set menu, which starts with a thick, pumpkin soup with seeds. Before moving on to the main course you’re struck by the attentiveness of your waiter. Ours was charming, and genuinely keen to help us choose from all the options, and select a wine to complement. The grape juice list lacks any grand names, although those searching for what they know are able to request the list from the other (Michelin) restaurant upstairs. Nonetheless, the list here is specific, has obviously been assembled by someone who knows what they’re doing, and anything you choose will be an interesting experience.
Both going for red meat, we’re recommended a classic Rioja, full-bodied with dark intense aromas. After devouring our starters (crab ravioli is scrumptious) I move onto an intriguing main course: rump of beef, served with a poached egg drowned in Béarnaise sauce. The meat is tender and juicy, working well with the soft egg and sauces. Indeed, the whole meal is a sum of all the right elements which produce a delightful and gratifying experience. Clearly haute-cuisine is better found upstairs. But as we finish with our vanilla and blackberry compote cheesecakes, you know you’ve had a great meal, and a great time.