Evelyn’s Table, Soho

Last week my pal Rosie and I visited the basement of The Blue Posts in Soho to eat at Evelyn’s Table. Rosie had already been a couple of months previously and was the one who had insisted we make a reservation; apparently it had been sensationally, jaw-droppingly, shit-tittingly fantastic, even though she got so drunk that she ordered a £120 bottle of wine before starting a spirited conversation with the chef about the grittiness of his sorbet. Consequently, I was under strict instructions from her somewhat mortified former dinner companions not to let her near the pudding menu again in case she made A Scene.

There was no sign of the eponymous Evelyn anywhere when we arrived, but there was a highly energetic Frenchman bouncing around – we knew he was French because he told us so, and because he was wearing a beret – with a friendliness and enthusiasm that hinted at a previous life as, possibly, a Labrador. He seemed to be a sort of manager/head waiter/sommelier hybrid, which was just as well because Evelyn’s Table must be one of the tiniest restaurants in London and doesn’t have room for a lot of staff, but his primary job, it seemed, was to flirt outrageously with the guests. All eleven of us. (Well, fifteen. There were eleven perched around the L-shaped kitchen counter, waiting eagerly for our next morsel, like performing seals. The other four had drawn the short straws and were sat at teeny tiny tables wedged into the corners.)

You absolutely must make sure you get one of those counter seats, by the way. Unlike the surrounding theatres there are no discounts for a restricted view, and although the food was consistently sublime it’s a shame to miss out on the kitchen-side spot.

The bread (£3.50), from the legendary ovens of Hedone in Chiswick, is naturally fabulous. Small plates come out ‘as they’re ready’ (grr), but in fact the chefs are keeping a close eye on what you’re eating and bring everything out in a sensible order, light to heavy. Our first proper dish was a pair of stuffed goat’s cheese courgette flowers (£7 each – we had two), fried to an irresistible crisp and drizzled with honey. Did I like them more than reigning champ Barrafina’s version? Hard to say when one is right in front of you and the other is a hazy memory, but it’s a close-run thing. Coming up for air was like coming out of a blissful coma. “That was so wonderful I want to throw it back up and eat it all over again,” I told the chef, drunk on goat’s cheese, in some weird attempt at a compliment.

Boat fish was presented on a chopping board before we ordered but Rosie was making eyes at the smoked eel (£9.00), not usually my bag (especially as it came with its great pal and my longtime nemesis, beetroot), but I was surprised – and pleased – by its meatiness, smokiness and bounce. Beef tartare (£12.00) was amongst the best I’d ever had, and bright, perky English asparagus (£12.00) could so easily have been overwhelmed by the accompanying girolles, hazelnuts and garlic mayonnaise, but was masterfully well-balanced.

We also ordered a plate of Spaghettini allo scoglio (£14.00 – that’s skinny seafood spaghetti, to you and me), though I’m not sure why as I have a bit of a rule about not ordering pasta from anywhere but a pasta restaurant in the same way that I don’t buy shoes from anywhere other than a shoe shop. As filler went, it was pretty good.

Lamb – served as chops and belly – was another dish I could have happily regurgitated and re-consumed until the cows (sheep?) came home, though at £24 it had damn well have better been. We also ordered a side of glossy buttered golden Jersey Royals (£5.00) that were so beautiful that the man sitting next to me, who turned out to be a Jersey native, nearly burst with patriotic pride.

Despite Sorbetgate, we did ask to try a teeny bit of the basil sorbet at the end, out of curiosity, and it was hideous. Sandy and bizarrely salty, the shock of it after the loveliness of everything else we’d eaten was not unlike going for a massage and then at the end unexpectedly being held down and subjected to electro-nipple torture. The restaurant is owned by the same people as the otherwise excellent Palomar two doors down, and their sorbet is absolute drawers too, so perhaps they just need a new ice cream machine.

Our total bill, including service, came to nearly £200, so Evelyn’s Table isn’t really an everyday kind of restaurant. (This did include quite a bit of booze, mind you: glasses of sherry and white wine upstairs before dinner, a bottle of white over dinner and a couple of glasses of red to finish.) But with its intimate, counter-style dining and chef interaction (no, not that kind, Rosie, pipe down), it’s worth saving for a special occasion.

Evelyn’s Table, The Blue Posts, Cellar, 28 Rupert St, Chinatown, London, W1D 6DJ

Author: Emily Gibson

Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.