Le Bab – Review (Kingley Court, Carnaby Street) Long live the renaissance

Le Bab first opened their doors in January 2016 by founders Stephen Tozer & former Le Gavroche chef Ed Brunet. Together, since 2014, they laid their roots as a street vendors. But the story began when they met at university. This was then they discovered their mutual love for the kebab, 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 a younger crowd full of smiles. As you walk in the room is perfumed with charcoal cooking spice scented meats, and delicious smelling bread. It’s a good sign ahead.

The interior, despite being compact seems airy, contemporary too, with patterned tiles, a concrete bar as well as an open kitchen and grill.
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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.DSC06031

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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.

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Smokey Sour (£9), made with mezcal, Laphroaig whisky, lime and walnut syrup.

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Fondue Fries £4.50 (cheesy chips). A double cooked homage to the humble kebab van, with stout & stilton. They were a warm hug on a plate.

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Lokma (£5) doughnut with spiced chicken liver parfait, were delectable little morsels soaked in syrup, with a smooth creamy liver centre. They’re definitely worth a try.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Endive & Pomegranate (£3.5). Lincolnshire endive, Iranian pomegranate, shallot dressing. Bitter sweet leaves dotted with jewels of fruity pomegranate, it was a beautiful thing.

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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.

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The verdict:
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 down to earth too, 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!
Rating: 4/5

Top Floor, Kingly Court
Carnaby Street
Soho
London
W1B 5PW

www.eatlebab.com

info@eatlebab.com

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