Hidden down a back street off of Hanover Square a stone's throw from the chaos of Oxford Street, lies this little gem of an eatery.
Pollen Street Social doesn't look like much from the outside...or from the inside for that matter. But from the moment you take your seat, the magic begins and the treats never seem to stop coming.
First off, the drinks.
You can usually tell a great cocktail from the size of the ice cubes, the complexity of the garnish, and the kick up the backside the first sip gives you. Pricey but potent.
We got our drinks and were handed the menus. I especially loved that at the front of the menu, they'd written down how far all the ingredients have travelled. Pointless but quirky.
What we didn't realise was all the extras that are included in your dining experience. We ordered our starters and mains and were extremely surprised when the waiters arrived shortly after with a variety of "canapes" to kickstart our appetite. They arrived on a pedestal and we dove in.
We had goat's cheese churros with truffle honey. Delicious isn't the word. The churros were crispy and goat's cheesey and the truffle honey was just the right amount of sweet.
Next we had these chorizo cake things which were a little unusual. Wasn't really a fan as they left a weird after taste, possible ruined by the goat's cheese and honey residue still on the palette.
And last but not least, we were served the most incredible "mushroom tea". The tea was poured into a teacup filled with "parmesan foam". SPECTACULAR. Seriously. I crave it now just thinking about it.
Canapes done, our starters arrived. I managed to capture my very generous portion of steak tartare (with blue cheese and beetroot), someone's mushroom salad and someone else's squid.
The steak tartare in particular was good, lots of flavour, no gristle, and the beetroot and blue cheese were a surprisingly good addition.
For mains, I kept it simple and chose the gnocchi with mushrooms and truffles accompanied by a cream based sauce. It wasn't great, I didn't taste much of the truffle sadly and you guys know how I feel about truffles. The gnocchi was softer than I'm used to with a texture was similar to the mushrooms, a little mushy. The sauce wasn't helpful either. A disappointing dish.
After the mains were consumed, we were stuffed and decided to skip dessert...then more treats arrived.
We were given delicious madeleines stuffed with jam, meringues stuffed with (I think) chocolate sauce, and little ice cream cones with white chocolate balls stuffed with (I think) grape flavoured ice cream. Random but YUUUUUUM.
This is a cool little venue. I love the canapes and the random hidden treats that kept appearing at the table as added value. It's certainly not cheap but the prices obviously cover all the little extras. Expect to pay around £30-£40 for a main dish with wine starting at around £75 and cocktails comfortably around the £13 mark.
I would go back to try one of the meat based mains, ideally on someone else's dime lol. Great for a special occasion or a date if you're looking to impress.