Celebrity chef Ian Pengelley has given House of Ho a fresh lease of life in its new four-story townhouse.
The Vietnamese-serving House of Ho is one of Fitzrovia’s newest foodie hot spots. But wait, haven’t we heard that name before?
Well, yes. A couple of years ago the original House of Ho opened it’s doors on Soho’s Old Compton Street, with TV chef Bobby Chinn at the helm. But underwhelming reviews claiming a lack of flavour and charisma called for a change.
Luckily us and the thousands of Vietnamese-food-loving Londoners, Gordon Ramsey’s right-hand man and pan-Asian personage, Ian Pengelley, stepped in. He’s stripped back the menu, spiced things up, and has transformed House of Ho in its exciting new home.
House of Ho has taken over a Fitzrovian four-story town house that’s full of character. It’s a charming affair – with high ceilings, a classic Victorian staircase, and some modern touches mixed in. The décor is clean and contemporary, with light grey walls and leather banquette seating which let the food do the talking.
As well as two dining floors, there’s a bustling cocktail bar on the third floor and a ‘secret’ fine wine room hidden off from the first floor. Plus, three separate private dining spaces. Soho’s original House of Ho (now “Ho”) has also received a full re-vamp, and remains open on Old Crompton Street for a more casual dining experience.
The House of Ho’s menu is inspired by Head Chef Ian Pengelley’s extensive travels in Vietnam. Known as one of the London’s leading Pan-Asian chefs, Pengelley brings with him a wealth of experience, including a joint venture with Gordon Ramsey, the launch of award-winning Gilgamesh, and, time spent at Harrods Chinese Chai Wu. The House of Ho menu focuses on fresh, vibrant ingredients and intense aromas, featuring both Thai classics and unique fusions. The portions are generous and the plating dramatic.
From the Rolls & Salads section, the Crispy Duck Salad (£9) could easily have had us going back for seconds. It was incredibly flavoursome, with chunks of juicy watermelon tossed amongst creamy cashews, and fresh mint and coriander.
Pengelley’s take on the well-known Vietnamese Pho is one that’s not to be missed. The sharing Wagyu Short Rib Hot and Cold Pho (£45) is sweet, spicy and succulent, all at once. Our eyes lit up as the waiting staff presented us with an enormous bowl of Pho broth, filled to the brim with thick rice noodles and vibrant pak choi. The rib was carved at our table and we watched in awe as tender chunks of Wagyu beef slipped off the bone and straight into the steaming broth.
The desert menu is modest yet satisfying enough for those with a sweet tooth. We opted for the Asian Banana Crumble with Lemongrass Crème Anglaise (£7). The sour flavour of the stewed banana and lemongrass, combined with the sweet, buttery crumble was simply delicious – and something new.
House of Ho offers a large selection of wines, spirits and Sake to match your meal, as well as several Asian-inspired cocktails to kick things off.
London has an abundance of Vietnamese eateries but thanks to Ian Pengelley’s first-hand experience, House of Ho in Fitzrovia might just be our new favourite. It’s been given a fresh lease of life that certainly doesn’t falter on flavour.
For a real taste of Vietnam, head to the House of Ho in London, Fitzrovia.
House of Ho – Where and how
Address: 1 Percy St, London, Fitzrovia W1T 1DW, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 20 7323 9130
About Leanne Kelsall