When I lived in London I went to Soho basically never. I went on a date in Chinatown once, and I’ve been to a West End show or two, but other then that I knew little, and cared less about the area. When I thought of Soho I mostly thought of tourist restaurants, seedy sex shops and strip clubs.
I probably never would have thought otherwise if it weren’t for Eating London food tours. I’d taken an Eating Rome tour of Testaccio a couple of years back and still consider it a highlight of the city. So when they offered me the chance to try their new Twilight Soho Food Tour I said yes right away. You know, for science.
Mike and I took the tour on the same day I dragged him all over London in a combination city tour/death march (I think our step count for the day was close to 30,000). So we arrived at the meeting point both exhausted and ravenous. Luckily, the tour started off with two British classics: a perfect gin and tonic and a hearty meat pie.
The tour was a mix of classic British cuisine and more international fair, a combination that correctly reflects what Soho is really about. It’s an incredibly diverse area where authentic Chinese restaurants sit next to smut shops, two hundred year old pubs perch next to gay nightclubs (Some places are simultaneously both) and everyone seems to get along swimmingly. It’s busy and diverse and a little crazy, but fun.
It’s also a place with rich history, which was doled out to us as we moved through the neighborhood. Hey Jude was recorded at the studio that once sat here; John Snow discovered the source of cholera over here; Karl Marx lived across the street.
And then there is the food. You can find almost any world food in Soho from bubble tea to jamon serrano to pho to Italian hot chocolate.
Here are a few highlights:
Overall this was a pretty great tour, that enlightened me about an entire section of Central London I’d barely looked twice at. It’s definitely on the expensive side for a food tour (everything in London is on the expensive side), but Eating Europe remains one of my very favorite food tour companies and they provide great value for the money.
And next time I go to London and stop by Soho, I’ll know where to go!
Disclosure: My tour was comped by Eating London. We did however pay for Mike’s tour. All opinions are my own.