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19 August 2015

review | the melt room

last tuesday i grabbed carmen after work and headed over to try london's latest offering in the "gourmet fast food" craze that's swept the city; melt room, in soho. the small (and i use that term loosely) noel street restaurant opened this past spring to heralded fanfare, and has been named in many a top ten list of the best toasties - sorry, cheese melts, in the city since. with that sort of reputation preceding it, i would have been a fool to pass up the opportunity to get some cheese in my wine hole and sample their menu for myself, right? 

the restaurant itself was super easy to find, basically the opposite end of great marlborough street, and a stone's  throw from both carnaby and oxford streets. so, the perfect place for a quick bite for when you're silly enough to spend the day shopping in central london, essentially.

when we arrived, we were lucky enough to grab the last table in the small eatery. we were even lucky enough to clear the leftover rubbish from the previous customer too, as it was apparent the lone employee wasn't planning to. nevertheless, we placed our orders and took our seats - me, the pulled pork with apple chutney and sharp cheddar, and carmen the portobello mushroom with provolone cheese - plus two serves of the absolutely delicious-sounding nutella and mascarpone melt on milk bread, for afters.

the savoury melts arrived in no time at all, which was just as well because i was starved and had prepared by only eating a salad at lunch. let me tell you this for free: no matter how hard you try, we concluded that there is just no damn way to make a cheese melt instagram-worthy; i don't know how lucy managed it just a few days earlier. regardless, both of the melts were crisp to bite into, with expertly-melted cheese, and the perfect amount of fillings so that they were full, but not over-flowing - a tough line to walk when making toasted sandwiches, that's for sure.

the pulled pork was an excellent choice; i wasn't sure if i was going to get the bbq chicken or the pork but ultimately, whenever there is pulled pork on the menu, i will order it. the meat was moist and you could absolutely taste it - and the mustard - through the taste of the cheese. the apple chutney was probably my least favourite part of the dish, and because i didn't really read the menu very well, it was part of my melt when i wish it wasn't. i hate apple chutney. i hate cooked apples. bleurghk.

no sooner had we filled our bellies with the main course, it was time for dessert. because that's what humans do; eat two cheese melts for dinner. mind you, what human clocks a menu that has a nutella and mascarpone melt on it, and ~doesn't order it? anyhow, the dessert melt arrived and as soon as it was placed on the table, the sweet hazelnut scent wafted nose-wards, and that first inhale of cheese melt-infused air was pure heaven. you know when you walk past the crépe cart on a high street and all you can smell is the delicious, melted choc-hazelnut and it cements your decision that something that smells that good simply cannot be bad for you? yeah. i felt like that about that melt.

in about four mouthfuls i had devoured it, and instantly regretted eating it so fast because a) it was all gone, and b) my stomach felt like it needed to explode. and that statement is going to sound less how it was intended when i drop in the small fact that this restaurant doesn't have a bathroom. i should have added that as a side note, but there you go. in under an hour we were done, and bursting for a wee we rushed over to starbucks (as recommended by the sole-worker in melt room) where we were never going to get away with a free one - all the eagle-eyed staff are probably well-trained to look out for the melt room customers as my guess is this happens a lot.

needless to say, it was a good experience. would i pay a fiver for a toasted sandwich again? hmmaybe. it does seem a lot for a sandwich, whereas the £3.50 for the dessert toastie is a no brainer because it was the most delicious thing i've had in a while. i would definitely recommend the place though, for a quick bit while you're out and about, so maybe don't stop in like we did because i can't say so much for the service or the (lack of) amenities. you can decide for yourself, and if you do, let me know!

26 noel street, london, w1f 8gy

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