Stephen Simon has been thinking a lot about how to create healthy food that's also enticing. The menu he has created since taking over as head chef at Soho House 76 Dean Street a few months ago is 50 per cent plant-based, with dishes like smoked celeriac with orange, fennel and toasted almonds putting vegetables centre-stage.
A plateful of baby aubergine halves, grilled until almost creamy and scattered with slivers of fresh red chilli, spring onions and mint leaves, disappears very quickly on the photoshoot. 'With a dish like this you have to make sure the produce is amazing,' says Stephen, who previously worked at Claridge's and Hélène Darroze at The Connaught before reopening Café Boheme last year. 'I've spent a lot of time looking for the right suppliers and making sure that everything is colourful and looks great.'
The high proportion of plant-based dishes is a response to demand from members and guests who are more conscious of their health and the environment. But there are still some standout meat and fish dishes for those who have yet to go full-time vegan - fillet of cod with coconut and basil broth and turmeric being one, and Swaledale lamb chops with broccoli, rice and ginger another.
Jamie Kerr, General Manager
When we first opened, our food was really leading the way in Soho House. Now, as the world around us has moved on a little, it’s time for us to up our game and make sure we’re as modern and appealing as possible.
Burnt Aubergine, Miso
This aubergine dish is a good example of how vegan food can both look good and taste great. Taking an underrated ingredient and doing something interesting with it has grabbed the attention of the members here at 76. It's one of our biggest sellers since we refreshed our menu this year and looks like it will be here to stay as a House favourite.
3 Japanese aubergines
1 red chilli
1 spring onion
30g apple cider vinegar
15g lime juice
10g soy sauce
2g sesame oil
Fresh coriander leaves
Fresh mint leaves
Green shiso leaf
First, chargrill the Japanese aubergines until they slightly blacken on the outside. Do not burn them as they will turn very bitter. (If you can't chargrill them then use a very hot pan.) Allow to cool slightly before slicing into large pieces. Next, thinly slice the red chilli (removing the seeds) and spring onion. Gently toast the sesame seeds in a hot pan and make the miso dressing by whisking together all ingredients in a bowl or jug. To assemble, cover the aubergine slices with some miso dressing and place under the grill. Allow to colour slightly, then remove and place on a plate with a little more dressing, the sliced chilli and spring onion, toasted sesame seeds and all the herbs.