Table for One at Andrew Edmunds in Soho

After the perfect day of doing London things in London, I took myself out on a romantic dinner date to Andrew Edmunds in Soho. I read up on the place while sipping a not-so-frosty pre-dinner pint at the Duke of Argyll pub. (Do Brits like their beer room temp, or is it just me?)

The restaurant is regularly referred to as “one of the last bastions of “old Soho” and is set in an 18th century townhouse with something called the Academy Club on its second floor. It was established in 1985 by local art collector and restaurateur Andrew Edmunds, who owned an antique print business next door. Over the decades, this intimate, candlelit space has become known as one of the most romantic spots in town and is today frequented by foodies on first dates, wine industry professionals and London’s literati. I also learned that the restaurant’s beloved founder Andrew Edmunds had actually passed away unexpectedly just a week before my dinner there. I was sorry to hear it. From the obituaries it seemed like he was a really dedicated guy and I’m sure he’d be happy to know how smoothly his business has continued to run in his absence.

Upon arrival I was treated kindly and taken to my table near the kitchen in the back. On the way there I passed one large chalk-board listing the wine deals of the evening and another with just their by-the-glass sherry selection:  a Fino, a Manzanilla, a Dry Amontillado, a Palo Cortado, an Oleroso from 1842 and a Pedro Ximenez. I quickly understood that I was in the right place. I took my seat and ordered a glass of toasty, yeasty, salty Valdespino Fino “Inocente” with smoked almonds, which were just the tits. By far one of my favorite pairings, I could have this every day.

The flittering flame of a candle held in place by an empty bottle of Gravette de Certan 2010 warmed my face pleasantly as I pored over the rest of the wine list. The diversity, curation and pricing of the offer were truly special. I saw a generous selection of wines by the glass and half-bottle, along with several mags from all over. The mark-up was honorably low, especially in their Burgundy section, which was full of pépites. Their Bordeaux vintages were on fleek, with lots of 2015’s, 2016’s and the right 2010’s. And they had a great Germany Riesling selection, along with cult wines from all over with barely perceptible markeups. Nice. I was in an oxydized white kind of mood (I’m rarely ever not) and wanted to continue along the same line, so I ordered a glass of 2015 Vin Jaune by Jean-Louis Tissot and then I ordered another more.

This funky, savory Jura went well with my dish: monkfish and lentils on a bed of creamy, smooth potato purée. The fish was meaty and juicy with a kind of lobster-y sweetness, while the very fine beads of lentil offered a lovely earthy, nutty edge to the dish. The potato puree was seasoned nicely and had a glossy, creamy texture, probably laden with butter, as it very well should be. Yum. 

Something tells me Andrew Edmunds nails dessert every time, and their stout cake with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream looked especially good. But I wasn’t really in the mood for anything too sweet, so I settled for Vintage Port instead. The choice was not difficult. They had Graham’s 1997 Vintage Port by the glass. Almost black-purple in the glass, this wine revealed super dense, ripe and concentrated aromas of plum jam, blackberry jam and black cherries on the nose, along with wet potting soil and dried violet petals. It was luscious and perfectly thicc on the palate without being overwhelmingly sweet. The perfect ending.
Andrew Edmunds is high on my list for London spots to return to in good company. Great service (despite the unfortunate circumstances), delicious food and a wine list of dreams… I hope this place stays around for decades to come.

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