Soho in general and this street in particular became the refuge of Huguenots, French Protestants who fled to England in the early 1680s. The street was named after Henry Compton who raised funds for a local parish church which eventually became St Anne’s Church. Now there is The Patty and Bun at No.18!
By the end of the 18th century this residential street had become a thoroughfare of shops with the ground floors given over to commerce, and accommodation above. These days there are restaurants, bars and boutiques where there once might have been grocers. The famous 2i’s Coffee Bar was open from 1956 to 1970. There is a commemorative plaque at No.59; it was a venue for Britain’s pop music during the ‘Swinging Sixties’. There is a whole list of ‘stars’ who performed there but most noteworthy is Sir Cliff Richard!
The Patty and Bun has a very different persona from the long-gone 2i’s. It has rustic appeal, with recycled wood aplenty and the ambiance of a beach bar although, having said that, it works perfectly with this city-central corner frequented by both locals and tourists.
Sure, it’s true that Patty and Bun on Old Compton Street is a casual eatery, but the food is very good. It’s a menu of burgers but don’t be a food snob: a burger is as good as its meat and the meal is as good as the burger and its garnishes. Trust me, you need to eat here, or you do if you are any stripe of burger aficionado.
Seasoned with maple
My guest ordered a Stockpot Sour cocktail. One might be a little alarmed by the name but that refers to the Stockpot which was a previous restaurant on this site and not a vat of soup on the back burner. Stockpot Sour is gin, Amaretto, Amaro Montenegro (a celebrated Italian liqueur made from an infusion of distilled alcohol and herbs), honey, lemon, sugar and egg. It’s a must-try here.
To go with that aforementioned alcoholic beverage and my iced tea we ordered Roast Chicken Skin. This was a new one on me, although there are apparently a few places who offer their own versions. It’s a stunner. The skins are crispy and seasoned with maple, Za’atar (a traditional eastern Mediterranean spice blend) and a good quantity of hot sauce. Goes nicely with cold drinks.
My burger was the Hot Chic Chicken – fried buttermilk chicken, crunchy coleslaw, smoked garlic, aioli, lettuce, and all served on a sweet brioche bun. This has got be the burger of choice for those of us who are not always tempted by red meat. It was flavourful with great texture from the chicken’s coating.
That hands-on thrill
This Hot Chic arrived, as do all the burgers, wrapped in white greaseproof paper, neatly folded. The table mats are brown paper and the napkins are beige recycled (I assume) paper. Let’s be honest, is there any need for a plate? It’s not likely you will be eating these babies with a knife and fork. I am a lady of a certain age and even I enjoy that hands-on thrill of serving simplicity. It absolutely works in this environment.
Lamb Shank Redemption was my guest’s choice. It was a substantial lamb patty with feta cheese, pickled aubergines, courgette fritters, a seasoning of cumin, aioli, a garnish of lettuce and served on brioche. This is a change from the usual beef and it was pronounced as moist and delicious by this man who is something of a burger connoisseur. The pickled aubergines should be a dish in their own right.
Side dishes arrived in paper cups which kept with the urban picnicking theme and it’s a practical presentation, as the food stays hot! The chips were delicious and crisp and the ‘Winger Winger Chicken Dinner’ wings were meaty and moist. They were smoked confit chicken wings with BBQ sauce and a garnish of spring onions. A signature dish that will assure my return …well, that and a cocktail will …and the chicken skin …and ….
Monday – Thursday: Noon – 11pm
Friday – Saturday: 11.30am – 12.30am
Sunday: 12pm – 10pm
Patty and Bun
18 Old Compton Street
London W1D 4TN
Phone: 020 7287 1818
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018