Neo Bistro, Soho: restaurant review
Having mastered the modern British tasting menu at Anglo, chef Mark Jarvis teams up with Alex Harper, formerly of Michelin-starred The Harwood Arms, to try his hand at contemporary European cooking at a sleek new space just off Oxford Street
What's the draw:
Finding a good, reasonably priced restaurant in the vicinity of Oxford Street is like hunting for a mythical being – you're sure it must exist somewhere, but you never seem to find it. Enter new arrival Neo Bistro, a sleek, Parisian-style, er, bistro from Alex Harper and Mark Jarvis just over the road from Debenhams that knocks it out of the park when it comes to both taste and value. But you'd expect no less given their credentials – Jarvis heads up the affordable and excellent Anglo, and Harper is the former head chef of The Harwood Arms, London's only Michelin-starred pub.
What to drink:
The vibe is relaxed, but don't let that fool you: the front of house staff run a tight ship, overseen by the manager and sommelier Nadine Carius (formerly of the Portland), who's curated a list of wines that tread the right path between popular classics and choices that'll test your palate, should you so wish. We sampled everything from a fresh-tasting Normandy cider to a Nutbourne sparkling, but we were particularly enamoured with a juicy Austrian blaufränkisch 2015 from innovative winemaker Markus Altenburger.View on Instagram
What to eat:
There's a standard à la carte with three courses and three choices, but we went straight for the six-course tasting menu, kicking things off with bread, freshly churned butter and tiny morsels of housemade charcuterie. Then onto the Cornish crab, delicately arranged with impossibly small cubes of courgette and a basil sauce; perfect, lightly warmed sea trout with sugar snap peas in their pods, sliced into chunks; and market fish (we were lucky enough to have John Dory) with anchovies. We'd thoroughly recommend the optional additional course, Anjou pigeon – breast, confit leg and croquette – served unexpectedly with a green strawberry, but make sure you save room for pudding – a ganache-like chocolate dessert with moreish malt ice cream.
Six-course tasting menu from £42; wines from £4.50 by the glass. 11 Woodstock Street, London, W1C 2AE; neobistro.co.uk