Column inches have been written about the death of Soho and the lack of a sense of community in the area. However, you don’t need to look too hard to find institutions that have been around for decades. One such family run restaurant is 40 Dean Street, Admittedly the name isn’t the most catchy, but that hasn’t stopped Soho regulars flocking to the restaurant
Despite its age, the decor has a classic timeless look. It has dark maroon coloured walls inside with smart-looking furniture; the popular tables are the ones with the street view on their small terrace area. If you enjoy people watching and also to be seen, they are the tables you need to reserve. Although many of the clientele seems to have been spending more time at the gym rather than consuming Italian food.
All the Italian classics that you can imagine are on their menus and all at very reasonable prices. For starters, I tried their steam mussels which were very meaty in size and bathed in what I would consider a tomato soup rather than a lighter broth which would be what most other restaurants would use. The soup felt hearty and rustic, ideal for autumnal weather, but perhaps less great for the summer months.
I am seeing quite a few spaghetti with fresh lobster at Italian restaurants these days and it definitely helps to make the dish more popular when restaurants don’t overcharge and keep the dish under £20. The version here contains chunky pieces of fresh lobster meat and in case you had doubts, they have included the lobster shell in the base of the dish, which also adds more flavours to the pasta along with the cherry tomatoes and brandy sauce. Although I would say both the main course and the starter, had an extremely thick and dense tomato taste, which did feel very homemade rather than lighter touches which are more popular at other italian restaurants.
Whilst the panna cotta was dense in texture and was smothered with rich mix berries and sauce, thankfully it was in a relatively petite portion size, so as to leave a welcoming sweet aftertaste in your mouth as you leave the restaurant without making you feel like you’ve overindulged in Italian delights over your weekend. It is clearly very popular for a reason, because regulars know exactly what they will get there: homemade classic Italian dishes along with exemplary service.