My husband and I LOVE trying new food when we travel so we jumped at the change to take a food tour in Soho on our recent visit to London. We really had no idea what we were getting into, having done no research in advance on London restaurants, but fully trusted Eating Europe to take us to the best spots in Soho! From sex shops to musicians to a restaurant designed after an opium den, this tour did not disappoint! Read on to hear about the coolest spots to grab tapas, cocktails and more in Soho!
We met our lovely tour guide Jordiana at the Staff of Life in Soho and started the tour at La Bodega Negra Cafe, a Mexican Taqueria that creates truly authentic Mexican street food and margaritas. My husband and I are big fans of authentic Mexican food and we loved the two types of tacos that were served to us on soft home made tortilla shells. They also served us delicious margaritas, which were the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer evening! While the cafe where we ate is quite casual, the entrance around back to the formal restaurant is decorated to look like a sex shop as a throwback to the history of the sex trade in Soho, which began when the first brothel opened in 1778. There is so much history to learn about Soho and La Bodega Negra was certainly a perfect introduction to what fun lie ahead on our tour!
After La Bogea Negra we walked to Soho Square Gardens where we learned that the historical looking building in the center is actually the entrance to a bomb shelter! Our tour guide was very funny and great entertainment! She also showed us where Paul McCartney’s offices are on one side of the park.
If you’re a fan of charcuterie you will LOVE Enrique Tomas’ shop in Soho! We stopped in here to try some of the best aged Jamón (ham) in the world with some red wine and cheese!
We tried 4 pieces of Jamón and 3 pieces of paired aged cheeses. Each piece of Jamón was delicious and totally unique because they were each aged for different times and the pig was fed different foods such as acorns! The wine and cheeses were perfect compliments to the Jamón.
You can watch then cutting the Jamón in the front window of their shop and purchase a fresh sandwich made with the meat and cheese. I highly recommend you try it!
Did You Know? The name “Soho” first appears in the 17th century. The name may possibly derive from a former hunting cry. James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, used “soho” as a rallying call for his men at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685, half a century after the name was first used for this area of London.
Pix is a Spanish tapas restaurant inspired by the pintxo (or pincho) bars of San Sebastian and Barcelona. A tapa is an appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine but by the time we chose three tapas each it felt like a whole meal. We had so much fun at Pix!!
We tried everything from quail eggs to chicken skewers to chocolate raspberry mousse but my favourite tapa was the ricotta stuffed gordal olives drizzed in harissa yoghurt! They melted in my mouth and I could have eaten many more!
We walked under the arches of China Town and turned a corner to see a green door guarded by a door man. We climbed up and around a couple of flights of twisting stairs and through additional bar space into our private alcove where our bartender serves us a delicious unique cocktail from a Chinese tea pot. We all had 2nd and 3rd servings it was so good!!
We also sampled shrimp dumplings and bbq pork buns which were also delicious. The atmosphere was incredibly relaxing and unique.
Did you know? Soho’s Wardour Street was the home of the Marquee Club, which opened in 1958. In the 1960s, numerous major rock bands played at the venue, including early performances from the Rolling Stones in July 1962 and The Who in late 1964, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, AC/DC and Iron Maiden. We visited the location of the Marquis Club on our food tour!
Our last food stop was quite a surprise as there was a sign on the door that stated “This is not a brothel. There are no prostitutes here.” Another throwback to the sex trade in Soho!
We walked down the stairs to a very dark and romantic bar where we all snuggled into a cosy private booth. This bar is very romantic! We were served a dessert made to resemble a Ferrero Rocher chocolate. It was delicious and definitely tasted like a Ferrero Rocher! We were so full after dessert. You will definitely get enough food and drinks on the tour to satisfy you!
Our tour was almost finished but we walked a little further to stop at Trident Studios where the Beatles recorded part of The White Album and Queen recorded their first four albums. So cool! Our final stop was at the Spirit of Soho Mural.
Throughout our tour we learned a lot about the history and art of Soho and the tour guide brought it all together at this final piece of art which represented so many of the people she talked about on the tour. The lovely lady in blue is an opera singer who’s lover was Cassanova. Also represented are hounds representing the origin of the name Soho, Karl Marx who lived in Soho and poet Dylan Thomas among many others.
In fact, even though the restaurants were unique and the food and drinks to die for, the best part of the Eating Europe food tour was our tour guide Jordana and the other tourists who walked the roads of Soho with us that night. People make life and food interesting and I would recommend this food tour to everyone who visits Soho, London! You will not be disappointed!
Disclosure: I was given tickets to the Twilight Soho Food Tour by Eating Europe in order to write this post however all opinions in it are my own!