Social Wine & Tapas (Marylebone): where tapas are good and the wine, better

Social Wine & Tapas is the latest addition to Jason Atherton‘s growing empire of restaurants. It’s a wine shop and tapas restaurant in Marylebone and a slick welcome breath-of-fresh-air on the rather touristy and chain-laden James Street.

You walk into the wine shop and dining counter where the vibe is pretty cool. I usually prefer to be sat by these counters for a proper tapas bar experience, but on this occasion we were led downstairs to an equally beautiful space where they have a cellar bar and more tables for larger groups.

We were handed menus and I was delighted to see a quote from one of my favourite plays, Man & Superman. I had a feeling we were off to a good start. 
We kicked off dinner with some Padron peppers (£4.5) and I kid you not when I say these are some of the best I’ve had. The char on the skin was just right and the seasoning was spot on. Peppers were so fresh that you still taste that tingly spicy kick.

The jamon selection (£15) is such good value for money as you get to try all of the cured meats on offer: Iberico bellota, lomo, chorizo, salchichon and serrano. The bellota is really good but the lomo is my favourite.

The Szechuan fried chipirones (£6.5) seemed like a play on the Eats meets West theme. The seasoning was a salty concoction of spices including my favourite Japanese togarashi whilst the dipping sauce was a creamy squid ink aioli. I honestly didn’t care much about the aioli (which tasted a bit bland) but the baby squid itself was beautifully crunchy and moreish.

We had to have the seafood & rabbit Spanish rice (£9) if only to compare it to Barrafina’s stunning arroz de marisco. Social’s rice is a bit more moist and the smokiness is less intense, but it’s still a very delicious dish packed with flavour. There’s enough seafood to keep every mouthful substantial and exciting, too.

The roasted sea bream (£9.5) hit high marks for me. It was moist and cooked perfectly with the fish flaking off beautifully with each forkful. The piperrada was vibrant and had a wonderful balance of sweetness and tang which worked well with the bream.

We ended our mains with the sliders (£12) which had rose veal & foie gras patties and a bit of pulled pork. This was served with some guac and pickled cucumber condiments.

Though the foie gras flavour was lost to me, the meat was rather juicy and I thought it would make a good proper burger. Nevermind the meatsweat and calories!

I forgot to take a photo of the wines we tried (so here’s a photo of your numbnuts-next-shore instead) which is truly unfortunate as the place has a really fantastic, extensive wine list put together by Jason’s chief sommelier Laure Patry. The wine flights are reasonably priced and I highly recommend that you try either the Chardonnay or the Syrah vins. Oh, and if you’re unsure about what to order, ask the waiting staff - they’re all trained sommeliers!

Nothing much screamed to me on the dessert menu (although looking at Lauren’s roast milk soft serve makes me want to kick myself for not ordering ice cream!) so we opted for the marscapone ice cream with strawberries (£6.5) to push for the last of Summer. This was so fresh and so good.

We rounded up the meal with (massive) cups of coffee and even bigger smiles on our faces. It was a pretty good dining experience and I honestly think it’s my favourite of Jason’s restaurants so far. Staff is knowledgeable and absolutely warm, the ambience is very chilled out and sexy, food comes quick, easy and delicious… and the wine is good enough to take you flying sans wings.
Go. Enjoy and be social! 😉
39 James St, London W1U
Ave spend pp: £60
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  1. 19th August 2015 / 4:19 pm

    Thanks for the link lovely! Love how we both went to the same restaurant and managed to have completely different meals bar one dish! I need to go to Social, I've not been but I hear good things Looking forward to seeing you tonight!

    Lauren xx | The Lifestyle Diaries

    • 19th August 2015 / 4:27 pm

      I like Social Eating House and wouldn't mind going back! too - we can make a date of it! Haha! See you tonight, lovely! x

  2. 19th August 2015 / 4:29 pm

    Ooh it's great to see other dishes!! They look great! We had such a good meal there, and this just reminded me I still need to write up my review - woops!

    C x | Lux Life

  3. 20th August 2015 / 10:18 am

    Oooh I've read a few reviews and I definitely think it's my kind of place! Looks lovely 🙂
    Lots of love,

    SilverSpoon London

    • 20th August 2015 / 10:56 am

      You've gotta try this place, Angie it's definitely up your street! x

  4. 20th August 2015 / 1:23 pm

    Oooo this all looks and sounds rather delicious!! Keen to check it out - the crispy squid and seafood stew would definitely be on my list. Glad it was so yummy! Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea's Passions

    • 20th August 2015 / 1:37 pm

      Think you'd like it there, Andrea! The sliders were pretty yummy, too! x

  5. 28th August 2015 / 11:00 am

    You are so damn adorable (and dwarfed by that gigantic cup of joe, ha). The chipirones look so good and the sea bream sounds amazing! And I've never had mascarpone ice cream before. Lusting. xx

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