On the long list of why living in London is so great (I’m choosing to ignore the downsides of the cost of rent!), on of the highest entries has got to be the food. London is a hotbed for new and exciting eateries and I’ve made it my life’s mission to eat at them all. Well, maybe not all of them, but by jove I’ll try. HA!
One of London’s latest additions is Le Bab, the new home of gourmet kebabs in the city. Founded by university friends, Stephen and Ed, Le Bab was born out of the gent’s mutual interest in the ancient gastronomy of the iconic kebab.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… It’s impossible not to hear the word kebab without images of intoxicated nights
walking stumbling home and accidentally-on-purpose walking into the local chip shop for a donner kebab - that greasy, pre-formed rotisserie meat food stuff and all the garlic sauce you can fit in. Classy.
Well, wipe those images form your filthy minds. For what Le Bab offers, is the true incarnation of what a kebab can and should be.
Produced with techniques honed in Michelin-starred kitchens, the food at Le Bab will totally change what you thought about kebabs.
The kebabs combine brilliant seasonal ingredients and the wood-fired flavours of the Middle East, near East and South Asia. [Cooked] on a wood and charcoal-fired robata.
The kebabs are made from the finest produce, think wild and free-range meats and seasonal veggies (sourced mainly form the UK, naturally). The only imports are the spices.
There’s also a might fine drinks selection on offer, too. From carefully selected wines and beers to masterfully crafted cocktails, all chosen to complement the kebab menu.
Now to the food: the menu is short and sweet but doesn’t disappoint. My recommendations from the starter options are either the Lokma—a doughnut with spiced chicken liver parfait, the sweet-spice-savoury combo will blow your mind—or the Meatlafel, which as you can guess, is a meat falafel served with tzatziki.
We tried the whole kebab offering, starting with the core four; pork, chicken, paneer and roe deer. Each one had its own unique twist and some incredible flavours - the Cavolo Nero Kimchi in the roe deer springs to mind first.
Each bab held its own - but I have to admit (and I can’t believe these words are coming out of my meat-loving mouth), I think my favourite was the veggie-friendly panner bab. I’ve never eaten paneer before, if you haven’t either it’s an indian cheese with a texture somewhere between feta and halloumi, and it tasted incredible. It’s the first time I can genuinely say I would chose a vegetarian dish from a menu over meat, as it’s that good. But the beautiful roe deer comes in a close second. But whatever you chose, you won’t be disappointed.
We also tried the large bab, i.e. half a pig’s head to share. The pig head certainly serves up some dramatics, and those who don’t like their to look like the animal it came from may want to order something else. The meat was served with crackling, black turnip, heritage carrot, onion, molasses sauce, carrot & turnip greens. This one was a little greasy and heavy for me(I tend to stay clear of fattier meats) but tasted amazing.
To finish, it was a round table of crème brûlée spiced with cardamon and cinnamon cloves. The only other desert choice is a walnut sundae ice cream, so the dessert menu could do with one or two extras to round it out, I’m looking at your chocolate lovers who only crave the milky stuff after dinner.
Overall the experience at Le Bab was awesome. The staff are friendly, including the founders who are happy to chat and tell you more about the food and drinks and above everything, you leave feeling full and content. Fans of Middle Eastern food are going to love this place, and I highly recommend you check it out - you’ll never see a kebab the same way again.
To find out more about Le Bab, or to book a table, click here.
020 7439 9222