While House of Ho may seem all too decadent for a lady of my sorts on a Wednesday night in London, this Vietnamese townhouse meets dining powerhouse was as welcoming as they come, and a true treasure just shy of the torment of the Oxford Street bustle.
House of Ho? It's something of an entitity of its own. Set across its very own four storey townhouse, House of Ho isn't just a restaurant, it's clearly a Vietnamese institution. Winding between vintage staircases in a traditional London building, the venue is a menagerie of restaurant spaces, bars and private dining rooms, all echoing the same lucid and welcoming mottled green furniture and humble bamboo notes, making it both relaxed yet tight as a theme. Our plot in the main dining space was a cosy corner table with a view of the mirror back bar and marble top tables. Luxury is clearly the note here, and it's created in a classic and momentary fashion throughout the spaces.
The Food and Drink
Set alongside a light bottle of house white, and seeing as hump day was on the horizon, it was no wonder that it took 8 stunning A La Carte dishes for us to really get a feel for House of Ho. Starting with their Asian pickles, warm aubergine salad, and wild mushroom dumplings, our meal started with humble flavours with bite. While my sea bass and prawn dumplings (£7) were both fresh and luxury in their own steamer, the warm aubergine salad had a chilli bite alongside a rich and plump sauce. The star of the show? A bed of soft shell crab alongside a selection of Vietnamese mayo and sauces (£12). While a petite dish in itself, House of Ho clearly want this dish to stick thanks to its bed of dried chilies in a giant serving bowl. This dish is primed for showing off thanks to its flush side-dips, subtle crisp and mammoth serving style.
Mains came in the shape of their heralded Chilean sea bass with Vietnamese fermented plum sauce (£30) alongside a portion of Kai Lan (Vietnamese broccoli) and fluffy Jasmine rice, while my boyfriend opted for the wild mushroom and vermicelli bowl (£7). While my sea bass was the treasure of our meal thanks the light but fleshy portion, and rich thanks to the pert plum sauce (a real testament to the venue), unfortunately the vermicelli bowl lacked a prime hint of seasoning, and disappointed as a meal that is often known to be packing a bite. House of Ho have clearly honed in on select dishes, knocking it out of the park with their plum seabass and snow crab, let's hope some of their more unassertive dishes will follow.
Unsurprisingly busy on a Wednesday night, there were little to no seats empty at House of Ho (and that's a whole townhouse worth); notoriety has clearly been developed in due course for the restaurant considering its back street location. While the gentle buzz added to dinner and the upmarket interiors didn't appear to create for a stuffy dining scene, it's the service that was top marks at Ho. Open, approachable and charming, even the almost loss of my backpack couldn't be scuppered thanks to the personable and bonny staff.
While a few dishes let the vegetarian team down, House of Ho is evidently wealthy in both interiors and plates alike. Not only boasting the kind of service that any self discerning diner would expect from such a charming restaurant, House of Ho promises subtle quirks in a classic enviroment, adding all the more to sundown scoffing.