Café Boheme restaurant


Copyright Soho House Cafe Boheme Food 201802 Jl Lr 006

This all-day Gallic mainstay may have a new look, but its convivial ethos is very much here to sta.

After a quarter of a century’s solid service, Old Compton Street stalwart Café Boheme is back after a subtle facelift. The beloved French bistro of the Soho House stable has shaken off its moody burgundy hues to reveal fresh racing greens and a jumble of mismatched paintings, black-and-white photography and reclaimed mirrors. Comfortingly, the Belle Epoque vibe for which it was known remains, with an Amélie-style brass-trimmed bar commanding centre stage. You half expect to see Mme Audrey Tautou calling up an iced Pernod with a coy over-the-shoulder glance.

The tables are still far too close together to afford any form of private tête-à-tête, but therein lies its charm. This is a local’s haunt; a familiar go-to when slinking off for club-sandwich lunches, last-minute suppers of coq au vin and late-night cocktails that roll into midnight croque monsieurs. Unpretentious and never quiet, it’s a place of endless shoulder rubbing – both literally and metaphorically – where W1’s creative crowd arrive for breakfast meetings on the promise of Gruyère-topped mushrooms on toast or eggs Benedict, and chums head off for Friday afternoons drenched in bonhomie to the soundtrack of chatter, clinking glasses and the shuffle of plates.

A simple menu offers up the kind of food you actually want to eat, without any of the Parisian pomp (or price tag) that many bistros display. Expect pitch-perfect charcuterie boards featuring pork terrine, saucisson and celeriac rémoulade, crisp-skinned duck confit poised on well-cooked lentils, gutsy Toulouse sausage and rib-eye steak frites with crisp-as-they-come matchstick fries. When the sun shines, bundle up on one of the pews that line the street outside for people-watching over onion soup, roast chicken in a rich gravy and steaming pots of moules marinière. Come evening, live jazz dances across the air as guests enjoy carafes from an extensive French wine list and tuck in to escargots swimming in pools of garlicky butter, while bar-proppers toast with Boheme Spritzes until the small hours.

Make no mistake, you go to Café Boheme for the atmosphere first and foremost. It’s a place you’ll return to time and again for its charm, with the food playing an experienced supporting act. But that’s precisely what we love about it.

Copyright Soho House Cafe Boheme Food 201802 Jl Lr 006

Get Premium access to all the latest content online

Subscribe and view full print editions online... Subscribe