One of my favourite restaurants is in Soho. I love the food and the staff here so much that I tell very few about it in fear of queues forming outside its discreet door. With this eatery scored on my heart forever more, Bo Drake, that’s located on Greek Street, had a tough road ahead to win and keep my attention. Did they manage to knock my fave dining destination off its pedestal? Pfft - as if I’m gonna tell you that this early on. You’re gonna have to read on to find out I’m afraid.
The Venue and Atmosphere
Sitting discreetly at 6 Greek Street, Bo Drake certainly doesn’t shout ‘look at me’ from the pavement. It’s blackened door almost seems humble against the others, and inside is just as laid-back presenting a darkened and intimate space. Bare brick mainly roams the back of the venue’s bar with the rest of the venue’s wall space left blank throughout. This Soho plot has a very minimalistic setup with simple wooden tables and dimmed lighting letting the food and drink on offer to do all the talking.
Although the tables near the front of Bo Drake offer the opportunity to people watch thanks to their large glass window, I’d recommend trying to get a table towards the back. It’s super cosy and less people can see you rock your sauce-stained face. The clientele were mainly made up of young professionals the night we visited and as time wore on, many of them were actually standing at the bar waiting on a table to become available. Like any venue that has a focus on sharing plates, the atmosphere of Bo Drake was easy going, fun and casual with chopsticks snapping up food and chatter filling the air.
The Food and Drink
Skimming the seasonal menu, we ordered the pork belly bao £10.80 and the Korean fried chicken £9 to start our meal. My canines punctured straight through the pillowed steamed bun and into the New Hampshire soured pork. Sprinkled with soy glazed peanuts and pickled cucumber, the flavours were savoury satisfaction. The Korean fried chicken, to my surprise, came out in wing form. The skin was crunchy but the sauce. My lord, the sauce. It was that good that my company actually drank it from the bottom of the bowl. Is that acceptable? Absolutely f*****g not. My one qualm however would be the rosemary. Although it added a woody flavouring, it piled up in my mouth to form an inconvenient mountain of herbs.
For mains we ordered the miso glazed ribs £15.80 that were recommended to us before our visit. They were probably my least favourite dish due to lack of meat on some ribs but the apple wood sauce was smoky and rich. Wanting to try a fish dish, we ordered the spicy crispy squid £6.80. The portion was endless as dainty deep fried rings were piled high but thanks to the spicy and salty kick in the batter, getting through them wasn’t a problem. For sides we ordered the sweet potato fries £4.50 and the house kimchi £3.50. The fries were cut fat and decorated in kimchi island dressing.
To wash all these East Asian BBQ dishes down, we thundered through a couple of the venue’s new cocktails; the most theatrical being the Dr Jekyll and Hyde. It came served in a tall glass bottle with smoke lingering above its alcohol content. Leaving it to infuse for four minutes, the aromatic whiskey, plum wine and vermouth drink ended up being a powerful and ever-changing serve with each sip tasting different to the last. My date’s fave drink of the night ended up being The Peas and Love. It’s made up of Prunelle flavoured with sloes, lemon and sugar snap peas. It’s an earthy and refreshing cocktail ideal quenching your thirst.
So, now that you’ve reached the end of my wonderful review, I bet you’re wondering if this Soho gem managed to knock my all-time Central London eatery off its number one spot. Unfortunately the answer is no. BUT, it’s definitely up there with my top picks. The starters were a solid five out of five and the cocktails were paired perfectly with the menu’s BBQ offering.