Is This London's Fanciest Fondue?
Heritage pitches itself as Swiss fine dining, with high-altitude, aprés-ski staples — cheese in every form, rösti, steak tartare, cured meats, genepì martinis — translated to a sleek, formal setting. Mountain food with a luxe makeover, basically: rich dishes for deep wallets.
The menu has plenty of Alpine appeal, the restaurant itself's a more members' clubby, leather-and-copper job; a mix of straightforward comfort and date-night-suitable glossiness.
Hero dishes include, weirdly, the Kaltbach dessert — aka the extra cheese we really didn't need by that point — a small brushed-rind chunk flanked by honeycomb, figs, and nuts, and with a heavy swoosh of truffle. It's a sticky, warming and glorious coda to the sequence of cheese-based courses.
Highlights from among the rare, non-cheese-based moments include the bread — no surprise flourishes, just simple and outstanding — and the Heritage Gtini — gin, genepi, absinthe and La Copa vermouth. Not cheap at £14, but there are places all over Soho you could pay the same or more, for a far less brilliant, smoothly chilly smack of wormwood.
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As for the Swiss mountain staples, they come with extra ceremony and a few non-trad twists. The house fondue's a lesser-spotted blend of gruyere and raclette, with the right amount of cling to whatever you dip in and a nice nuttiness. Steak tartare is prepared tableside, with a condiment trolley and a memorably punchy house marinade, the steak trapped under a smoke-filled cloche and a large handful of 'potato hay' — long, crunchy slivers of potato stirred through it. The tartare itself's a beauty; the potato hay dilutes some of the rich smokiness of the meat and doesn't add much but crunch in return.
There's not an obvious sync between satisfaction and pounds sterling dropped. Prices rollick oddly around from reasonable dishes — £12 a head for the fondue, breads, a teeny-tiny dish of pickles and some potatoes — while steak tartare's more than hefty enough, with its richness, for two to share at £15. On the flip side, the green apple and comte rösti is delicious but dainty even for a one person starter at £12. And the cheapest post-dinner coffee you can hope to find is £6. That's per single black coffee.
But hey — Heritage doesn't pretend to be cheap. Everything about the restaurant shouts special occasion, and the opulent flourishes they're throwing into the classics include some absolute hits — the Kaltbach's figgy, truffly depth; the Gtini's herbal, genepi-fierce undercurrent — among the less frequent misses.
Winter is coming, and for people in search of high-end spots to drive away the chill, you could do a lot worse than Heritage.
Heritage, 18-20 Rupert Street, W1D 6DF.
Last Updated 19 September 2019