Anthony Brown reviews Le Bab in Kingly Court, W1
The boys behind Le Bab are not your typical restaurateurs: Stephen Tozer and Edward Brunet became friends at Oxford and after respectively working in private equity and training at Le Gavroche, decided to team up to take kebabs to places they’d never been before. The result was Le Bab – a Soho restaurant that opened this month.
Providing a mid-market alternative to the utterly saturated gourmet burger sector and the trendy Venetian tapas offerings of such places as Polpo, Le Bab is a restaurant that reinterprets this Middle Eastern dish. Served with light house-made flatbreads rather than the more traditional and stodgy naans or pitas, ‘The Babs’ – as they have been christened – are cooked on a wood and charcoal fired robata, priced between £11 and £13 and perfect for sharing. They feature such ingredients as chicken crackling, beetroot puree and pork aioli and are colourful and well presented. The best of them, the roe deer adana is not to be missed and it comes with a blackberry and chilli jam that gives it an especially unique kick.
A limited menu is offered currently as part of Le Bab’s soft opening but of the starters, the meatlafel with tzatziki (£5.50) was the most appealing. Lokma doughnuts with spiced chicken liver parfait (£5) looked to be a clever conception but were perhaps a little doughy. The restaurant’s signature dish – sadly not sampled as we were a party of two – however is a pig’s head (£36) designed for a hearty group. Served with crackling, kohlrabi, heritage carrots, onion and a molasses sauce, this dish definitely is the encouragement I need to return. It’ll certainly turn off the Corbyn-ites of this world given it is in-your-face presentation but as a conversation piece, what could be more perfect?
A side of double-cooked fondue chips (£4.50) was a dish that needs improvement given that the stout and Stilton sauce that accompanied it could only be described as bland but the spiced crème brûlée (£4.50) we concluded with was beyond excellent. Le Bab is a restaurant that’s in its infancy but it will go far. On our visit it still didn’t have a sign, but go there before the foodies find it. You will not be disappointed.
Le Bab, Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, London, W1B 5PW.
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