Hanging out in Soho on a Friday night is such a pleasant pastime. Neon signs light up the streets as groups of friends spill out of pubs, regardless of the weather, and nearby buskers sing Celine Dion covers and have everyone in the streets wailing in unison. It’s truly a sight to behold.
We pottered around in the rain last Friday and after a couple of jars, decided to take shelter at the esteemed Italian restaurant, Forty Dean Street.
A neighbourly spot, Forty Dean Street is a family run restaurant right in the thick of it. The atmosphere on a Friday night was full of vibrancy and life, yet still relaxed. We settled in and scanned the room to witness elderly couples enjoy a romantic prix fixe theatre night dinner, and gaggles of girls catch up on the week over wine and pasta.
The restaurant suffered a fire last year, and has recently reopened its doors after a long 11 months. Even after a necessary revamp the place remains to have a classic, antiquated feel adding to its warmth and charm.
The menu is traditional in it’s dishes; tagliatelle ragu, seafood linguine and gnocchi occupy the pasta section whilst pizzas are kept simple with just three variations. Starters include bresaola, bruschetta and pan-fried tiger prawns, and mains suggest chicken milanese, rosemary and honey lamb chops and a mozzarella, tomato salad.
We had the antipasto sharing platter to start, accompanied by a stack of fresh bread; succulent cured meats were served with melt-in-the-mouth mozzarella, palatable pickles and juicy artichokes all speckled with a balsamic dressing. We shared a bottle of Sauvignon de Touraine, a delicious French dry white similar to Sauvignon Blanc.
Our mains were truly wonderful. I went for the spaghetti vongole and my partner, the gnocchi. The spaghetti was doused in a gorgeous parsley and garlic infused oil giving it an appetizing gloss, making each strand slip off the fork before I could bite… a tease of a dish. The remaining oil was welcomely swept up with leftover bread.
The gnocchi was a rich, cheesy, truffle-y dish with wild mushrooms and smoked mozzarella. We completed our mains with a side of polenta fries dipped in a spicy, tangy tomato dip. We opted to share a tiramisu for dessert, when in Rome after all.
Forty Dean Street has an amazingly low price point, making it a great spot for group dining on a budget. Equally, it’s a lovely spot for a cosy date night too. Pasta and mains are no more than £15 and you can get a decent bottle of wine for £25. It’s great to visit a restaurant with so much passion in its cooking and ethos, and a place we’d be happy to visit time and time again.
To book a table at Forty Dean Street, visit their website here.
40 Dean Street