Restaurant Review: The House of Ho

7th June 2016

The House of Ho opened its new flagship venue on Percy Street in August 2015 in a glamorous four-storey Fitzrovia townhouse that was once home to Caprice Holdings’ Bam Bou.
Spearheaded by Chef Ian Pengelley (formerly of Gilgamesh), this modern Vietnamese restaurant is a smart affair with beautifully thought out interiors. There’s little from the outside to reflect the modern Vietnamese fare, but the interiors are strikingly stylish. High ceilings and towering windows let the light stream in to an elegant main room, highlighting the swathes of white marble that makes up most of the surfaces. Wood floors and green leather banquettes combine to give off a colonial, Asian fusion; this clean and contemporary space does very well to reflect Pengelley’s fresh menu. There’s a wide terrace at the front for summer days, while upstairs, there are numerous private dining rooms including a top floor lounge with a bar and DJ decks.

Pengelley is known for Pan-Asian food and his cuisine at The House of Ho is inspired by ample time spent exploring Vietnam’s culinary offerings. The menu features a modern, sophisticated take on local street food and is split into sections; small dishes, rolls, sushi rolls, pho, salads, dumplings, sides and sharing dishes. There are more than enough enticing dishes on the menu here to sample something new on every visit (and a good reason to make this a staple in your little black book).
Food from start to finish was, on the whole, a roaring success. We left the excellent host to pick our dishes, and he did so with gusto. We began with summer spring rolls, stuffed with fresh crunchy veg, and soft shell crab with three sauces, which appeared rather majestically in an enormous bowl bedded with dried chillis, but didn’t quite live up to its hype with the meat lacking a little in flavour. The real success lay in the unbelievably moreish avocado & sweet potato tempura, served with orange ponzu; if there’s a dish anywhere that could turn a meat-eater into a vegetarian, this is it.

The House of Ho is all about sharing, so we moved on to a main of Shaking Beef – tender, pink and drizzled with rich sauce alongside a signature Ho House salad and a side of spiced Vietnamese Asian greens, all washed down with a citrusy white wine that sang of summer. Dessert took a little time, but it was thoroughly worth it when it arrived. A warm green tea fondant seeped a sumptuous liquid into the accompanying vanilla ice cream and proved to be one of the best and most surprising desserts we’ve had in a while – where a little quirky flavour really does makes a serious impact.
The service was so amiable and familiar that we felt we were being welcomed into the staff’s home – and an incredibly design savvy home it was too. The House of Ho serves lunch and dinner, but whatever you choose, make it a long, leisurely meal, because if you’re anything like us, you won’t want to leave.
Words by Annie Biziou – Lifestyle Editor

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