Good as gold! Noble Rot shines on return
Ravishing Soho restaurant breathes new life into defunct site of the legendary Gay Hussar
27 May, 2021 — By Tom Moggach
A three-storey building – newly painted in blacks, golds and blues – Noble Rot in Greek Street is a splendid sight
IT’S exhilarating to finally break bread with friends and relish the laughter of strangers. Restaurants and pubs have flung open their doors and the atmosphere is often extraordinary.
The staff at Noble Rot in Soho seem to share in this sense of elation. “We’ve been more closed than open,” says my Spanish waiter, smiling behind her fabric facemask.
The opening of Noble Rot last September was a big deal in the restaurant world, as it breathed new life into the defunct site of the Gay Hussar in Greek Street, a legendary hotbed of political gossip and dodgy dealings.
The new owners had a shiny reputation, too, as founders of a buzzy place in Lamb’s Conduit Street and as leading lights in the wine trade.
But then Noble Rot shut in November. And stayed shut for six months. This three-storey building – newly painted in blacks, golds and blues – is a splendid sight, but not endowed with an outdoor space to help scrape in some income.
Thankfully, the team have hit the ground running. This is a restaurant that just gets it – from small details to the big picture. I’ve visited twice and can’t wait to return.
The interior is ravishing: a deep, wood-panelled room with sultry low lighting. Grand mirrors bounce the light; a high shelf is arranged with dozens of cut-glass decanters.
Wine is at the heart of the Noble Rot experience, with an iPad wine list that stretches to dozens of digital pages.
But the paper menu features a succinct list by the glass, all available in 75ml tasters from just £3 and upwards.
This generous gesture is a rare find in restaurants. You can taste some top-notch bottles without breaking the bank.
I’ve always felt you can judge most restaurants from the way they deal with bread. Stingy portions give you a glimpse of the true spirit within.
Here a portion costs £4.50 but is almost a meal in itself: two thick slices each of a fine sourdough, focaccia and soda bread, served with a generous slab of salted butter.
You can splash cash at Noble Rot if you’re in the mood. Roast chicken with fresh Morel mushrooms, vin jaune and riz au pilaf costs £70 to feed two or three people; a roast John Dory draped with lardo is £30.
But I was perfectly content with two flawless starters. The first, a plate of fat asparagus spears with a splash of mimosa sauce (£12); the other, a salad of bitter wild leaves with ribbons of courgettes, roasted almonds and a dusting of salted ricotta (£8.50).
Noble Rot makes you feel special, whether you bring friends or treat yourself. After these long dreary months, we all deserve a dollop of feeling looked after.
Noble Rot Soho
2 Greek Street, W1D
0207 183 8190