Le Bab first opened their doors in January 2016 by founders Stephen Tozer & Ed Brunet, the latter a former of Le Gavroche chef and they both carved their roots as a street vendors together since 2014. They met at university where they discovered their mutual love for the kebab and teamed up with two former Le Gavroche chefs Manuel Caneles Garces (he heads up the kitchen) and also chef de partie Angus Bell. The brief here is simple – a ‘kebab renaissance’ with an emphasis on British seasonality combined with Middle Eastern flavours, great value wines and artisanal cocktails. It’s based on the 3rd floor of Kingly Court which is a lively little place adorned with other restaurants and the younger crowd full of smiles. As you walk in the room is perfumed with spice scented meats, charcoal and delicious smelling bread. It’s a good sign ahead.
The menus are easy to follow and we’re advised to go for some starters to share with a bab each to go with them. It’s a relief to see some excellent value wines too.
To kick proceedings off I go for a Chelsea Blonde (£4.5) which is zesty and fruity – an ideal accompaniment to the spice that ensues. It’s chased down with one of their Smokey Sours which are delicious.
Smokey Sour (£9), made with mezcal, Laphroaig whisky, lime and walnut syrup.
Fondue Fries £4,5 (cheesy chips). A double cooked homage to the humble kebab van, with stout & stilton. You can imagine they are very crispy and very comforting.
Lokma (£5) – a Lokma doughnut with spiced chicken liver parfait. Delectable little morsels soaked in syrup with a smooth creamy liver centre are definitely worth a try.
Meatlafel – with braised lamb shoulder & beef shin, tzatziki. A clever bit of cooking combining in my mind some perfect cuts of meat that require slow cooking with added pistachio crunch. The spice and seasoning were perfect.
Corn fed chicken shish (£12). Squash hummus, season’s pickles, chicken crackling, Le Bab toum, biber, heritage carrot tops. This dish packed so much flavour it had my taste buds dancing!
Paneer (£11). BBQ paneer, beetroot puree, crispy onion, pickled rainbow shard stem, curry mayo. The crisp bread and paneer was the perfect vehicle to carry all the flavour that this mighty little dish packed.
Endive & Pomegranate (£3.5). Lincolnshire endive, Iranian pomegranate, shallot dressing. Bitter sweet leaves dotted with jewels of fruity pomegranate, it was a beautiful thing.
Crème Brûlée (£4.5). Spice with cardamon, cinnamon and cloves. One of my favourite puddings that comes with a spicy persuasion, it was fun to eat.
When did I go? Feb 2016
The damage: Expect to pay £30-£40 per head with drinks
The good: Le Bab is clever, fun and proof that kebabs are not just for the alcoholically impaired at 3am – the cooking is solid and accomplished with strong flavours and great ingredients. The front of house were so down to earth and which made the dining experience more pleasurable. The kebabs are here to stay and they will revel at this rate.
The bad: I didn’t get to try the pigs head!
Top Floor, Kingly Court