Fondue, not just a dish which enchants the eater with its melting pot of flavours and aromas, but a social dish; every person who serves it to you will have their own theories about its origin, preparation, and the correct technique to devour it! Whatever theories one holds, you’ll always end up discussing it as the blended combination of gooey melted cheese bubbles away on its stovetop in front of you, and now you can have the joy this experience right in the heart of London’s cultural epicentre – Soho!
That’s right, there is a little hidden gem waiting to be discovered by the foodie in you! Tucked away down the side of Rupert Street, by the Prince of Wales theatre, is Heritage Soho, Soho’s first Alpine-inspired restaurant. Here you can enjoy the culinary delights of the Alps combined with contemporary trends from modern Europe. Trust us when we say, the fondue is perfection, a traditional combination of cheeses which can be enjoyed with wines and cocktails in a communal atmosphere. You’ll be feeling that true Après-ski vibe as you unwind after the adventures of your day and connect with your social circle.
Cheese Fondue London Restaurant
But what are the rituals of the fondue party? Where did the dish come from and how do you get an authentic experience which makes you feel like you are in Switzerland enjoying the elegant combination of cheese-and-wine while overlooking the glory of the mountains and lakes? Read on, we’ve got you covered.
Somewhere in the Alps, a long long time ago…
In the 18th Century Swiss farm families were looking for a way to stretch their resources and keep-warm. With some cheese, crusty bread, a dash of wine and a fireplace, a hearty savoury masterpiece was born! From its humble beginnings fondue has become a favourite to enjoy all year round. The dish has kept its magic as it brings people together over the saucepan. Diners approach the pot ready to playfully take up battle against their fellow diners as they arm themselves with a fondue fork, skewer delicious foods and indulge in greatest cheese dip ever invented. Good conversation and jokes easily follow, as do the forfeits for those who lose their food in the abyss of pot!
The cheese mix is indeed the star of the show and can be made with a variety of cheeses, but two of the most traditional are Gryère cheese and Vacherin Fribourgeois. We wouldn’t be doing our heritage any justice if we didn’t use these Swiss cheeses which are made using the best cow’s milk and have maturing processes which result in a creamy quality perfect for simmering at the table for hours as you chat away! This half-and-half combination is one we use in our sister restaurant in Montreux, Restaurant Le Museum, and we import its ingredients directly to the UK; you can’t get closer to Switzerland than that! For those that adore extremely bold aromas, we serve a version with freshly ground truffle added to the mix, a glorious experience for any true truffle fan! Hungry yet?
Cubes of Heaven
Although it all started off with chucks of bread, the food to dip has developed over time. Fondue isn’t all about the cheese, it’s also about flavour combinations you add with it; a pot of fondue at the beginning of your meal will not have the same flavour at the end. Every element added brings a new enhancement to the dish.
We draw upon our origins from our Swiss sister restaurant to provide a selection food of that the Swiss locals love. Our cubed Ciabatta bread is soft in the middle which provides the perfect vehicle for the cheese to soak into, diners enjoy a crusty crunch followed by a softer texture which allows the creaminess of our mix to shine.
Cheese Fondue Soho Restaurant
Alongside this you’ll find our baby potatoes, chosen specifically for their slight sweetness which, when dipped in the stringy goodness in the pot, breaks up the strong mature taste of the mixture, something your tastebuds will adore.
What’s cheese without meats? If you are a meat lover, we highly recommend adding our pork-belly to your experience. Prepared sous vide for 24 hours and then lightly pan-fried, the pork brings a meaty flavour with a slightly crunchy outer texture that will melt in your mouth as you reach the centre of each bite. This cooking method ensures each piece you spear retains its flavour and moisture when dipped, it’s so tasty!
If you are after a nutty, slightly herby taste, add some of our Parma Ham to your order. Cured for 9-months and thinly sliced you’ll adore wrapping this around your fork. The rich body of the dry-aged Prosciutto is nothing short of yummy when combined with the bold punchiness of the swiss-cheese!
Lastly there are the pickles! You cannot eat Fondue without Gherkins. These little bites of tanginess lift the cheese to a new level, bringing an acidy which cuts through the heavy creaminess and compliments it beautifully. Combined with our pearl-like pickled onions, it’s blissful for your palate.
So, you have all the right flavours, the authentic alpine ingredients which a touch of European flare… but what’s the right way to eat the dish? The Swiss are passionate about their unwritten rules for fondue! So, we’ve taken the time to provide some tips to achieve the most autunitic experience.
1) Skewer a chunk of food firmly on your fondue fork – if you have bread, make sure the crust is on the outside.
2) Approach the stove cooker and dip your chuck into the pot of oozing, heavenly cheese. Stir your fork in a clockwise motion to keep the cheese well blended as it simmers over its medium heat – it’s a team effort to keep the cheese from clumping together! Don’t dip your food if someone else is swirling though, everyone will get their turn in good time.
3) Pull the fork out and twirl the melted cheese around your fork three times to allow the excess to fall back into the pot, don’t tap the side and no double dips!
4) Pull the food off with your teeth while trying not to touch the fork itself with your mouth. If you want to be extra courteous, pull off the chunk with a knife onto your plate.
5) Fondue is a dish to be enjoyed at a slow pace, relax with others, take it in turns to dip and provide great conversation!
TOP TIP – DON’T LOSE YOUR FOOD!
Losing your food in the pot is not advised! The Swiss will half-jokingly assign a penalty to you like getting a round of drinks, singing a song or kissing other guests around the table. You could even end up paying for the whole meal…
The Secret at the bottom of the of the pot
If you want to get in on the best secret of fondue then rather than mopping up the ounce of melted cheese from the pot, let the flame continue to cook it so that a dark crust forms. This is called the Religieuse (The Nun), which is chipped away from the pan and devoured at the end of the meal. It’s considered a delicacy and gets its name because when it folds around the fork it resembles a nun’s cap.
What to drink alongside this bubbling masterpiece?
If you want to keep it traditional it’s recommended to drink dry white wine, kirsch, or warm herbal tea to complement digestion; we have a lovely sauvignon blanc on our list which is a perfect pairing for this dish. However, if you are not a cheese-and-wine person you can opt for the non-traditional route and enjoy a range of beers, cocktails or even champagne.
What about Dessert?
We wouldn’t be doing fondue justice if we didn’t serve the sweet version now would we? Our gourmet melted chocolate fondue pots are something you’ll adore. You’ll be crowding round the burner and jump at your fondue forks when you see the freshly chopped fruit and home-made sweet treats ready to dip.
Now you have the low down on everything Swiss fondue related, we hope to see you through our doors soon to indulge in this classic alpine experience in the centre of London Soho. Book online today.
More about Heritage Soho
You can book at the restaurant using our online booking portal
We run a range of weekly experiences at the restaurant for guests to enjoy including Monday Bottomless Fondue, Tuesday Bottomless Raclette, A Pre-theatre menu as well as our Weekend bottomless brunches and Sunday Roast – book now to avoid disappointment.
We so also offer private dining and private hire at the restaurant – contact our events team for more details.