Churchill's Port House, Soho
On a recent trawl for new tapas style restaurants to visit with the girls I stumbled across Churchill's Port House, a pop up affair on Soho's Greek Street. Not working in town anymore (or at all, in fact) means that sadly I am now desperately out of touch with all the new places springing up, so I was excited to see this temporary addition to the street I used to work on. A quick google of the menu promised a lot, so we booked immediately and after a quick free bottle or two of vino at Zebrano's for old times' sake*, we made our way over.
Churchill's have taken over a typical Soho townhouse and the vibe is very laid back, tables are packed into three floors with a kitchen in between, meaning it is buzzy and fun - the music was really cool when we went too - a mixture of old school rock, motown and other cool genres I don't know the names of. Also, bonus, the guys behind Churchill's (I think sons of whoever started the Churchill's port brand) are very easy on the eye and even more charming.
On being seated, Felicity chose to announce that she dislikes port. Not ideal in a place dedicated to the stuff, but one of the aforementioned port Gods overheard and recommended she try one of their port cocktails - we can not remember any further details, but it was definitely delicious. The rest of us went for a 'Port Flight' - a white port, a tawny and a vintage - which could be paired with different tapas dishes. Churchill's have really been successful at shaking off the fusty old image that port has acquired, there was not a single large-bellied red-faced old man in sight, and this port is a world away from the dark, heavy ruby stuff your parents might pull out after dinner**.
Consulting the menu again (which is encased in a selection of Beano annuals, in case the photo is foxing you) we ordered the charcuterie board to share (excellent, super Iberico) and then moved on to some very moreish slices of spicy chorizo, salmon and avocado tartare, pork belly confit (AMAZING), Iberico pork burger (ALSO AMAZING), some filo packages containing chestnuts and more pork, but which this time was a bit like black pudding. Before visiting we'd seen a review that said the prawns were a bit mushy, so we avoided these but otherwise I think we had most of the menu. We had some wine as well and the bill was about £35 each, which we all agreed was good value.
Highlight of the meal was the fact that Churchill's is positioned directly opposite the entrance to Soho House, and midway through our meal a very lovely waitress informed us she had just seen Tom Cruise making his way there. So, following dinner we all hightailed it across the road and ended up drinking espresso martinis thigh to thigh with Mr Cocktail himself, who was a very nice man indeed and not as short as you may imagine.
NB. Churchill's has come to the end of its pop up life now - we just managed to sneak in - but we are promised that they will be returning later in the year.
*This is not an endorsement; do not visit Zebrano's thinking it will be good. It won't be.
**Personally still a big fan of this port too