Malibu, Calif., best known for its beaches, surf culture, and celebrity sightings, is rarely celebrated for its culinary scene beyond the notable exceptions of Nobu and Malibu Farm café and restaurant. However, with the opening of private social club Soho House in May, cuisine in the coastal enclave got a boost.
Feeding the legend of conscious California cuisine, the varied and creative menu is peppered with Asian influences and offers plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians, such as the Forbidden rice bowl with fermented vegetables, or the young coconut salad with green papaya, hearts of palm, and spicy nuts. Omnivores are not left behind. The juicy “brick” chicken sits atop a bed of spiced yogurt sauce and is camouflaged beneath a lacy layer of basil, tomatoes, and grapes. Even the cheeseburger is elevated here, with grass-fed beef on a soft potato bun. Sea bream tacos and raw salmon with avocado, citrus, and nasturtium are highlights from the seafood selection. Pizzas are tempting and interesting without going so far afield that they sound too strange to entice. The burrata pizza, for instance, is the chef’s salty rendition of a margherita pizza with added black olives and capers.
Desserts—from the cheese board (a Point Reyes blue cheese pairs beautifully with the toasted sourdough slices from Gjusta in Venice) to the airy pavlova with a lemon curd mousse and elderberry coulis—delight with just-right touches such as fresh honeycomb, edible flowers, and seasonal fruits. The wine list features Old World and New World choices, from the stars to the familiar, with a small selection from Malibu vineyards.
The new property is Soho House’s seventh in the United States and bears its own name, Little Beach House Malibu. Its light- and art-filled spaces include an inviting indoor dining room with cozy club chairs, a fireplace, and accordion doors that open to the deck and views of the Pacific Ocean and the Malibu Pier. Three bars and several terraces spread between the club’s two levels are appointed with stylish but comfortable seating. The monthly events calendar includes al fresco yoga, cocktail classes, group hikes, and marine biology discussions. All activities are limited to members and their guests. Annual membership costs $2,000 for Little Beach House Malibu and $1,500 for prior Every House members. (littlebeachhousemalibu.com)