Middle Eastern & Asian Spot in Soho.
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Middle Eastern, Pan-Asian
Address : Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby St, Soho, London , W1B 5PW, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.eatlebab.com
Opening Times : Mon-Sat: 12pm-3pm; 6pm-11pm; Sun: 12pm-7pm
Closest Tube : Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus
It‘s an unlikely one, but pretty much anything can trend in the Big Smoke. In this case, it happened to be luxury kebabs. First it was Chifafa in Clerkenwell, slinging ethically reared meat cooked on Big Green Eggs. Then Black Axe Mangal set up shop in the north end of Islington. Spearheaded by the erstwhile chefs of St John, their jewelbox small eatery quickly garnered queues by serving cocktails from Ryan Chetiwardana and putting offal to use on the menu, with an Ottoman homage wrap to SF and NYC‘s trendy Mission Chinese. Then came Le Bab, which put everyone else to shame.
Perched on the top level of Kingly Court amongst heavyhitters like Wright Brothers, Senor Ceviche and Pizza Pilgrims, the dining room is classic shabby chic - everything from the floorboards to the furniture is elegantly distressed, and there‘s a light and airy ambience pervading the room. What really rivets the attention is the food that they‘re serving up. Le Bab was launched by two Michel Roux graduates who manned the stoves in one of the most vaunted kitchens in Britain: Le Gavroche. Former sous chef Manuel Canales Garces and former chef de partie Angus Bell wanted to bring a bit of finesse to the humble kebab - with a focus on ethical provenance and seasonality that you might not find at your local Golden Doner. In our opinion, their work would convert even the most jaded fast-foodphobe, as it bears almost no resemblance to the late night gut bomb.
They also have a healthy interest in wines. We opted for a natural Czech Pinot Noir which was orange, the skins left in a bit longer to imbue it with some funkiness through contact maceration. It turned out to be a beautiful accompaniment to the wide array of flavours that followed. We launched into some seriously delectable beignets stuffed with chicken liver parfait. Named Lokma, they were dusted with rose petals, honey and a dash of rosewater. Heston better watch his six - they could well give his meat fruit a run for the money. Scotch koftes enveloped nuclear yellow yolked Burford Browns with barbecue pork, crisped up and padded them out with a house brown sauce.
We were seriously tempted to eat the entire pig‘s head - a sharing plate - but opted out of greediness in favour of variety. A tikka Barnsley chop brought some subcontinental spice to the table, grilled with a rind of spice that would put Tayyab‘s to shame and served with masala jersey royals and tamarind slaw. But the real star of the show and dish of the night was the 15 hour free range pork shawarma, splayed out on flatbread like a porcine supermodel, topped off with grilled spring onion, roasted white broccoli puree, fennel pickle, chermoula mayo and shards of crackling that blew up the mouth like a flavour IED. Dessert is a great time to get into the cocktails and the Smokey Sour is a prime example. Blended with Laphroaig, Vida Mezcal, lime, agave and whipped egg white,
it‘s a delicious departure from a lovely meal.
We're very pleased to add a restaurant like Le Bab to our coterie. It's exceptional value for money with flavours worthy of the chefs‘ Michelin-starred pedigree.