What’s with all this “& Co” business in London these days? Here’s my third review in a row of an eatery with such a suffix to its name. Fortunately, my & Co trio has provided me with more than decent grub. In the case of Soho brasserie with chic basement bar, Central & Co, I found an especially convenient and fairly swank venue offering a something-for-everyone approach toward food and drink.
The “Central” bit of the name is certainly appropriate. Located steps from Regent Street and Oxford Circus Station on Great Marlborough Street with its entrance facing Carnaby Street, you couldn’t ask for a better Zone 1 rendezvous. Shopping, theatre, nightlife, work … whatever … everybody’s gotta pass through this corner of Soho at some point. I reckon using Central & Co as a starting off point would be as wise as anywhere else. Of course, if you chose to stay on there for more than a quick drink or snack, you could do a lot worse.
During my visit I enjoyed a lovely poached egg and crispy bacon salad (with frisée, croutons and wholegrain mustard dressing, £6.75 as a starter or £9.50 as a main) and a satisfying pot of Welsh mussels (in English cider with leeks sage, cream and warm bread, £7.50 as a starter or £9.75 as a main). My dinner date went with good ole fish and chips (Camden Ale batter pollock with hand-cut chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce, £12.50). She wasn’t in love with it, but I thought it was right tasty (although comparable versions of the dish at cheaper prices are within walking distance). A carafe of juicy and bright Moonriver Danube 2011 Pinot noir (£22 for a bottle, £12 for a carafe or £4.10 for a glass) pleased and seemed able to accompany a broad range of dishes.
Service came across as scatterbrained but well intentioned, course correcting soon enough and averting any catastrophe.
We sat curbside for our meal, but the interior looked comfy and the downstairs bar downright luxuriant. And here’s where the “& Co” bit comes into play. From the restaurant’s & Co page:
& Co is London’s first spirits bar offering an intimate and unique drinking experience. The concept is simple – our spirits are selected based on their flavour profile and then decanted. We will serve your drink straight, or enhanced using liquers, vermouths or bitters. We don’t use any juices and our drinks are never shaken.
Starting tomorrow, Wednesday 18 September, & Co will present a Drink the Classics – a month long celebration of four famous novels via a special weekly cocktail menu. Week one is Orwell’s Animal Farm; week two, The Beautiful and the Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald; three is Keroauc’s On the Road; and four, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Central & Co is located at 22 Great Marlborough Street, W1F 7HU. Find out more at centralandco.com.