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Bib Gourmand Restaurants in Central London

 
 
 
 
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The Palomar

Photo by H. Cathcart

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The Palomar
Brasserie Zedel
BAO, Soho
Salt Yard
Kricket Soho
Kricket Soho
Kiln
Kiln
Kiln
Hoppers
Hoppers
Berenjak
Bancone
 

 

Unsurprisingly, central London is home to a large number of the capital's Bib Gourmand restaurants. From Soho to Fitzrovia, the area is full of tempting but affordable eateries.

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Bancone

Louis Korovilas' neighbourhood Italian serves unfussy, comforting pasta dishes in the heart of Covent Garden.

39 William IV Street, London, WC2N 4DD

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Covent Garden Station

 
 

Described by Grace Dent as casually orgasmic and deeply affordable, Bancone has been making waves on the dining scene ever since it opened in Covent Garden back in 2018, and a placement on Michelin's 2020 Bib Gourmand list will no doubt increase its popularity further still. A neighbourhood Italian in the heart of London, the restaurant comes from former Pied á Terre and Locanda Locatelli chef Louis Korovilas and serves unfussy, comforting pasta dishes in a stripped back yet welcoming setting. Bowls of freshly made fazzoletti - or silk handkerchiefs, as they're known on the menu - and spicy pork ragu are served to diners perched at one of three dining bars looking on to the fully open kitchen. Cosy two-person booths placed under an exposed golden bulbs are also available, providing the perfect setting for a feast of honeyed garlic focaccia followed by pappardelle with sautéed chicken livers, brandy and sage butter. For dessert, tuck into peanut butter pannacotta with cherry gel or gianduja chocolate brulée.

 
 
 

BAO, Soho

Steamed milk buns filled with braised pork, fried chicken or lamb shoulder.

53 Lexington Street, London, W1F 9AS

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Oxford Circus Station

 
 

After proving popular at Netil Market, BAO was given its first permanent home in Soho, serving its steamed milk buns and Taiwanese cuisine to more hungry Londoners. The buns are filled with ingredients such as braised pork, peanut powder and coriander; fried chicken, kimchi, Sichuan mayo and sesame; and lamb shoulder, garlic mayo and soy pickled chilli. For dessert, there's a fried Horlicks ice cream bao. Fancy more Bao? You can find them in Netil Market and Fitzrovia , too.

 
 
 

The Barbary

The menu here reflects the countries along the Barbary Coast through to the Mediterranean Sea leading to Israel.

16 Neal's Yard, London, WC2H 9DP

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station, Tottenham Court Road Station

 
 

What happens when you can't get a seat in one of London's most desirable restaurants? They open a new one, thankfully. The second restaurant from siblings Layo and Zoe Paskin, Assaf Granit and Uri Navon who also own The Palomar, you'll find The Barbary in Neal's Yard, Covent Garden. The menu reflects the countries along the Barbary Coast through to the Mediterranean Sea leading to Israel. The mood of the food is 'grilling and baking from the Barbary Coast to Jerusalem' so you get Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, Libyan food like grilled duck hearts, sirloin steaks, octopus mashawsha, and asparagus with black tahini. Eat at the silver metal bar that wraps around the open kitchen and take in the theatre of the chefs at work. The slight snag - the place is tiny... and it doesn't take reservations. In short, be prepared to queue.

 
 
 

Berenjak

Chef Kian Samyani evokes the style of a rustic Persian kabab house.

27 Romilly Street, London, W1D 5AL

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Tottenham Court Road Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station

 
 

Reinterpreting the classic hole-in-the-wall kabab houses lining the streets of Tehran, Berenjak evokes the style of a rustic Persian kabab house. This is one to bookmark not least because founder and chef Kian Samyani has the backing of Karam, Jyo and Sunaina Sethi - the family behind Trishna, Kitchen Table at bubbledogs, Sabor and Brigadiers - where Kian has spent time in the kitchen. With Berenjak he draws on the food and flavour of meals enjoyed with his Iranian family. Enter by ducking through a reimagined Iranian shopfront to find an open kitchen, giving a full view of the chefs manning the flaming tanoor, mangal barbecue, and rotisserie. Exposed brick walls, stained glass windows, bronze tables, reclaimed marble and Persian-inspired mosaic are illuminated by flickering candlelight. It creates the perfect ambiance for enjoying punchy small plates of Kashk E Bademjoon and blackened aubergine followed by kababs on freshly baked breads, poussin marinated in saffron and bowls of traditional khoresht - Persian-style stew.

 
 
 

Brasserie Zedel

A large Parisian style brasserie in the heart of London.

20 Sherwood Street, Soho, London, W1F 7ED

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Leicester Square Station

 
 

Chris Corbin and Jeremy King (the duo who brought us The Wolseley and more recently The Delaunay), return with a new addition to the London restaurant scene, Brasserie Zedel, which opened on 18th June 2012. Its location, set in the vast new development just off Piccadilly Circus (the restaurant occupies the Grill Room of the former Regent Palace Hotel), alone makes Brasserie Zedel a significant opening. But pair that with the Corbin and King names and you have a launch that's sure to get the critics salivating. We are promised "a large, bustling Parisian brasserie transported to the heart of London", with restored Art Deco style interiors by the designers of the moment, the David Collins Studio. Even more intriguing is the claim that the restaurant will offer "great value with remarkably low prices". If that really is the case, Brasseries Zedel will be busy. The restaurant offers all day dining and there's a separate 'Bar Americain' as well as a cabaret and live music venue called, quite brilliantly, 'The Crazy Coqs'.

 
 

Events at Brasserie Zedel

Barb Jungr: Bob, Brel & Me
On Soon

Friday 15th and Saturday 16th November 2019 - 7.30pm | £25

 
Barb Jungr: Bob, Brel & Me Brasserie Zedel 2019-11-152019-11-16 Where:
Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood Street London, W1F 7ED
Category: Brasseries

The cabaret singer reinterprets songs by Bob Dylan and Jacques Brel.

Susana Sheiman: By Myself
On Soon

Friday 15th and Saturday 16th November 2019 - 9pm | £20

 
Susana Sheiman: By Myself Brasserie Zedel 2019-11-152019-11-16 Where:
Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood Street London, W1F 7ED
Category: Brasseries

The Madrid-born, Barcelona-based singer is accompanied on double bass and piano, for an intimate programme of swing, blues and ballads.

The Legend Of The Jazz Penguin
On Soon

Saturday 16th November 2019 at 11am and 1pm | £10

 
The Legend Of The Jazz Penguin Brasserie Zedel 2019-11-162019-11-16 Where:
Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood Street London, W1F 7ED
Category: Brasseries

A musical puppetry show about how the penguin discovered the jazz.

Neal Richardson Quartet: Not King Cole
On Soon

Sunday 17th November 2019 at 3pm and 7pm | £25

 
Neal Richardson Quartet: Not King Cole Brasserie Zedel 2019-11-172019-11-17 Where:
Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood Street London, W1F 7ED
Category: Brasseries

The pianist and vocalist pays homage to one of his musical heroes, in an affectionate reworking of some of his greatest hits.

Partikel
On Soon

Tuesday 19th November 2019 - 7pm | £15

 
Partikel Brasserie Zedel 2019-11-192019-11-19 Where:
Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood Street London, W1F 7ED
Category: Brasseries

Forward-thinking jazz trio featuring Duncan Eagles on saxophone, Max Luthert on bass and Eric Ford on drums and percussion.

All events at Brasserie Zedel
 
 
 
 

Cinnamon Bazaar

Vivek Singh's fourth restaurant takes inspiration from vibrant bazaars.

28 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7JS

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Charing Cross Station, Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station

 
 

Vivek Singh opened his fourth London restaurant in 2016, stepping into the world of bazaars. Following in the footsteps of Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen and the less formal Cinnamon Soho, Cinnamon Bazaar takes inspiration from the colours, sounds, smells, bustle and energy of these marketplaces to create vibrant dishes like Indo-Chinese chicken wings; Calcutta spiced crab and beetroot in chickpea batter; double-cooked pork belly with curried yoghurt; and lamb roganjosh shepherd's pie. There's also set lunch and dinner menus, a tasting journey and high tea, which offers a selection of fine Jing Teas, Indian nibbles and sweet treats.

 
 
 

Hoppers

This restaurant takes inspiration from the roadside shacks of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.

49 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4SG

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Tottenham Court Road Station, Piccadilly Circus Station

 
 

The third London-based Indian restaurant for the Sethi brothers - Karam, Jyotin and Sunaina Sethi, the siblings behind Michelin-starred Gymkhana and Trishna who also back Bubbledogs, Kitchen Table, Lyle's and Taiwanese steamed-bun specialists Bao - Hoppers takes inspiration from the roadside shacks of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. The hopper - a thin, bowl shaped pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk - and dosa are at the heart of the menu with the fermented ground rice and lentils batter served with a choice of meat, seafood or vegetable kari. The menu also lists 'rice and roast' dishes including a Buffalo shank biryani or Tamil spit chicken, and bar snacks, ('short eats' in Sri Lanka), including Oxtail Veechu Roti and mint sambol. A short list of cocktails focuses on Genever and Arrack, with Sri Lankan Lion lager and stout also available as well as ginger beer and buttermilk chaas made in-house. The design, by Katy Manolescue of Article Design Studio, references the hopper and dosa shacks of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu and the whole thing promises to be "fast paced and bold on flavour".

 
 
 

Kiln

Stripped backed Thai dishes made using quality British ingredients.

58 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9TL

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station

 
 

Presented by self-taught chef Ben Chapman - known for the Smoking Goat - Kiln focuses on northern Thailand as well as Burma and Laos to create exciting street food style dishes. Opened in late 2016, the restaurant was highly praised by critics and visitors alike from the offset and has since gone on to win a Bib Gourmand in the 2018 Michelin Guide. The menu is stripped back but full of flavour with simple yet exciting dishes like an aged lamb and cumin skewer, wild mussel and sour turmeric curry, northern style pork laap, mackerel dry red curry, and langoustines with kaffir lime and sweet mint.

 
 
 

Kricket Soho

Modern Indian food in a sophisticated setting.

12 Denman Street, London, W1D 7HL

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Leicester Square Station

 
 

Chef Will Bowlby and front of house Rik Campbell, the team behind Kricket Brixton, have chosen Soho for their first permanent restaurant space. Influenced by regular trips to India, Kricket Soho specialises in modern Indian plates - this is simple and accessible Indian cooking. The menu has sections devoted to dishes made on a robata grill and breads, meats and fish baked to order in a clay tandoor. Choices include duck leg kathi roll, peanut chutney and pickled cucumber; lamb Haleem, fresh ginger, puffed wheat and fried onions; and venison rump, burnt onion raita , artichoke crisps and pickled blackberries. Dishes such as Bone marrow with cep kulcha are also sure to be a hit with late night diners. Enjoy Indian-inspired drinks - gin, black pepper, apricot and jasmine, through to short blends of Rose and cardamom with tequila, pomegranate and orange - at the cosy basement bar.

 
 
 

The Palomar

This intimate restaurant serves food typical of modern day Jerusalem.

34 Rupert Street, Soho, London, W1D 6DN

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Leicester Square Station

 
 

The Palomar "serves lovely food" says Jay Rayner. "It pulls on the traditions of the Mediterranean fringes without being overwhelmed by them", and it does so with an "utterly infectious" "vigour and enthusiasm". This achingly hip, intimately small restaurant situated at the Leicester Square end of Rupert Street, in Soho, serves excellent food typical of modern day Jerusalem, with influences from Southern Spain and Italy, North Africa, through to the Levant. The narrow entrance space as you enter offers seating for 19 at the Kitchen Bar - from where you see the chefs at work - and opens out onto the main dining space at the back; a small room with space for 35 people arranged around banquette seating. The cooks occasionally break into an impromptu dance, or down shots with diners, creating a party atmosphere. But that doesn't affect the serious approach to the food - "dish after thrilling dish" (The Independent). From the sow-baked Yemeni bread to a salad of octopus, yogurt and chickpeas everything is to be sampled and savoured. As The Independent food critic Tracey Macleod put is, The Palomar is "Clamorous, cramped and exciting."

 
 
 

Salt Yard

This split level restaurant has a relaxed tapas bar and more formal restaurant.

54 Goodge Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 4NA

Tube: Goodge Street Station , Tottenham Court Road Station

 
 

Drawing heavily on the flavours of Spain and Italy, Salt Yard is a tapas bar that likes to mix up its influences. While upstairs is a charcuterie bar for lighter bites, downstairs is the more formal restaurant with tables tightly packed. There you'll be presented with the inventive tapas menu, divided into vegetable, meat and fish dishes. But most important is the particular emphasis they place on the quality of the ingredients. Cured hams and salamis include Jam'n Ib'rico de Bellota - made from semi-wild acorn-guzzling pigs from Southern Spain. Perfect prosciuttos from Alto Adige and herb flecked salamis from Tuscany come served on wooden boards. For vegetarians, the signature dish is courgette flowers stuffed with goats-cheese and drizzled with honey. With a sister restaurant Dehesa in Ganton Street and the Blackfoot Butchers opposite Salt Yard in Charlotte Place, owners Simon Mullins, Sanja Morris, and chef Benjamin Tish are taking tapas to new places.

 
 
 
 
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