La Sophia is a Halal French/Mediterranean restaurant near Westbourne Park, It has been on my radar for a while now as it seemed like a unique concept. It used to be on tastecard however due to the recent rise in popularity I guess they took themselves off. Regardless to say I was looking forward to something different than my usual.
Lets start with the basics –
The main floor is very cosy and intimate, dimly lit by candlelight creating a romantic ambiance accompanied by the solo Guitarist playing live Music added to the mood, most of the diners where young couples on date night, our loud group of 8 didn’t really go with the furniture.
There is a larger downstairs area which is more of a moroccan vibe due to the decor, this would definately would have been better for our large group. Our table was seated right next to the entrance which meant there was a VERY chilly cold draft of wind every time people would enter/exit. This meant I had to get up around 6 times during Dinner to close the outer door to stop the cold air coming in.
However, for a Friday night the restaurant was rather sparse and the reason is probably the location.. Its not ideal to say the least, off a main high road and it took me nearly 2 hours to get there in Friday night rush hour traffic from North East London.
On to the main course….(of the review)
I decided to opt for the set menu which did have some good choices from the La Carte menu, as you know I’m a meat guy, so I went straight for the meat dishes. La Sophia is known for serving Rabbit, but all I could do is picture a cute little bunny so I opted for the Flame-grilled ribeye steak, roasted new potato & bearnaise sauce as a main course and for starters I ordered Lamb shoulder croquette, on bed of soft herbs, cherry tomato salad and mustard aioli. (sounds fancy)
Thumbs up for presentation, it looked good. As starters goes it tasted nice, I missed the croquette part on the menu and didn’t realise i was getting a small bread crumbed fried food roll filled with mashed potatoes and Lamb.
There are moments during a meal that make or break one’s dining experience, the moment I took my first bite of steak…mine was ruined. I asked my steak to be cooked medium rare with some pink in the middle. What I got was a undercooked, tasteless, uninspired and unflavoured piece of meat. There was absolutely ZERO taste and flavour, I imagine if you cooked unseasoned bit of rubber is would be the same. I really couldn’t believe how bad it was. It was juicy, but combined with the under cooking and disappearance of seasoning of any kind I was left with bit of animal flesh on a plate surrounded with poor presentation of potatoes and 2 slices of carrot. I then had to request a Steak Knife from our waiter, It should have been given before the meal. At least he was friendly and had a good attitude.
Something happened on this night for the first time I never finished a meal, I always finish my food and especially if it’s steak, however on this occasion the food was so awful that I couldn’t force myself to take another bite. It was the worst steak I’ve ever had. Perhaps its the French way of cooking or maybe my taste palate isn’t sophisticated enough to detect minute elements of flavour… Honestly I can’t get over how bad it was.
Now I’m the kind of person that doesn’t do the polite British thing and not say anything, I was in a right mood, this tasteless meal really put a downer on my night, at least I was with good company to cheer me up.
The Drinks menu was also very limited, they did have “Halal/non-alcoholic” wine but I passed as someone said it wasn’t very good
The bill came to around £25 as I had the 2 course set menu for £19.50 + £4 extra for steak. I wished I came here using a 2 for 1 discount maybe then it would have worth it.
Final thoughts, maybe I ordered the wrong thing, you can check it out for yourself but as the French say this place was c’est terrible.