Heritage in Soho: An authentic and indulgent trip to the Swiss Alps
Swiss cuisine is arguably not as fashionable as that of the French, and a little more ambiguous than its Italian and German neighbours. However, it hasn’t completely bypassed the London food scene: the popular St Moritz in Soho has already made a name for itself by offering authentic Swiss dishes – namely fondue – in a kitsch traditional setting. Now, new kids on the block Heritage are here to prove that their country’s culinary fare isn’t just a one-trick pony as they describe themselves as “London’s first modern Swiss-inspired restaurant and bar”.
After fighting my way through the ambling tourists, I found the restaurant on Rupert Street, opposite a boarded-up theatre and a brightly lit souvenir shop. Inside, it was a different story and I was pleased to see that the decor didn’t even slightly resemble a touristy restaurant. Instead, I was met with exposed brick walls, quirky artwork, modern wood panelling and a polished chrome bar.
The bar was a beautifully decked-out space, stocked with a huge collection of spirits ranging from infused gins to imported Japanese whiskies. The cocktail menu was pretty extensive and clearly showed some favouritism, with a whole page dedicated to the Old Fashioned. We decided on a Jamaican Twist which was made with Appleton Reserve, a house blend of sweet vermouths, orange curacao and Angostura orange bitters. We also had the incredibly refreshing Yuzu Collins, made with Roku gin, elderflower liqueur, yuzu juice and fresh ginger, topped up with a floral tonic. As well as cocktails, there was a boastful wine list and we settled on a bottle of the Pinot Noir Balavaud Grand Cru from Switzerland.
When it came to ordering food, the waiter approached our table to explain the menu and emphasise the sharing nature of the dishes. By the looks of it, we had a lot to get through, mainly consisting of cheese and meat – and then a bit more cheese.
We started with the raclette, which had been aged for approximately three months, and was dramatically scraped over a plate of cured meat, pickles, vegetables and potatoes. The cheese was rich and felt extra indulgent when paired with the charcuterie, which brought a hint of smoky sweetness to the mix. We had officially dived in headfirst and I had a feeling this would set the tone for what was to follow.
And I wasn’t wrong. Next up was the rosti topped with maple-glazed lardons and sheep’s milk cheese, Tomette de Brebis. The rosti was lightly crisped on the outside before giving way to soft, buttery potato on the inside. The maple-glazed lardons provided a fragrant syrupy flavour which was perfectly matched with the generous serving of smooth and creamy sheep’s cheese. This dish was nothing short of incredible.
And then it was onto – yep, you’ve guessed it – more cheese, as we were presented with the fondue for two. We went for the “Moitié-Moitié” – a simple choice of artisan bread, potatoes and pickles. We were told that the fondue was a mixture of raclette cheese, Gruyère cheese and white wine. The consistency didn’t seem to be quite right when it first arrived but as it started to cool down, it thickened up which meant we could eagerly pile lots more cheese onto our forks.
After that, the table was cleared and we knew we were in for something special. A huge charcoal grill was placed between us in preparation for the chateaubriand of Dedham Vale beef. The waiter then advised us how long the beef should be cooked for on each side and with that, we were off. The meat was accompanied by three different condiments – mustard, horseradish and Bordelaise. Each cut was extremely tender, even when left on the grill for too long, and we ate these up with a couple of sides. Although we’d probably had just enough cheese by this point, the potato gratin was wonderfully rich and satisfying. We also had the hispi cabbage with crispy ham, which was sweet and chargrilled, bringing a slightly lighter element to the table.
For dessert, we were far too full for the chocolate fondue and opted for the chocolate cake with cherries, encased in dark chocolate. Pumped with velvety, full-bodied flavours, it managed to hold a certain richness without being too heavy or sweet, making this the perfect post-dinner treat.
By the end of the meal, we were pretty cheesed out – but by no means cheesed off. The restaurant gracefully lends itself to traditional Swiss cuisine, making you feel like you are getting an authentic taste from the Alps, while enjoying it in a modern and stylish setting. Although a little on the pricey side – the chateaubriand is £44 per person – the food is of a high standard and elegantly executed. It’s probably more geared towards a chilly winter’s night, but
Heritage is well worth a visit if you’re in for a sociable dining experience that doesn’t scrimp on indulgence.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Alex Julie Woods
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at Heritage, 18-20 Rupert Street London W1D 6DF, call 020 3995 7500 or visit their website here.