The team behind Soho kebab shop Le Bab has opened a second site on Mercer Walk, in the middle of Covent Garden’s growing restaurant scene.
The restaurant group was founded by Stephen Tozer and Ed Brunet, and the new venture is a collaboration between the pair and executive chef Manu Canales. Having graduated from Oxford University, Brunet began a career as a chef, his last role being at Le Gavroche, before launching Le Bab with Tozer – also an Oxford graduate - in 2014. Executive chef Manu Canales also takes his experience from working at Le Gavroche, as well as at Santo Remedio.
The restaurant is the latest operator to settle in to the growing restaurant hub of Covent Garden, counting the likes of Hawksmoor, Dishoom and Temper as its neighbours. Spanning two storeys, the site offers 45 covers upstairs and 30 in the basement. Interiors, designed by Angus Buchanan, feature a pastel and green colour scheme and booth seating. A feature wall is decorated with 50,000 playing cards, and upstairs a neon sign bearing the restaurant’s name is fixed to the wall. Pastel parquet flooring and decorative plants give the room an informal feel, and the open kitchen offers counter seating upstairs.
The menu is much larger than that at Le Bab, and offers a selection of small plates and snacks exclusive to the new site. New snacks include crispy fried lamb balls with doner kebab condiments; hummus topped with peanut, sundried tomato and zaatar pesto; and romesco broccoli with almond and hazelnut Iksender sauce. The restaurant’s kebab offer is also unique to the new site for the most part and includes an adana-spiced lamb filling with pickled shallots and meat mayonnaise; miso-marinated celeriac with pickled onion rings and dressed leaves; and a chicken shish wrapped with pickled and charred broccoli and harissa mayonnaise. A short list of sandwiches include an Indian-influenced pav; a pork focaccia with raclette; and an Afgani-influenced lamb and meat filling with tamarind, alongside a list of Lebanese pizzas. Sides include fries with various toppings; breads; and salads. The offer is much more accessible to a vegetarian and vegan clientele than the group’s first site is, and reasonably good value with all kebabs priced under £10.
The restaurant offers a selection of cocktails that use a selection of syrups and tinctures made in-house. The ‘Tea for Summer’ is made with peach, hibiscus and gin, while the ‘Grapisco’ contains pisco and vermouth. A selection of wines and craft beers are also available.
And another thing
The founders will be developing the restaurant to contain a hidden private dining room downstairs, in which a six-course kebab tasting menu will be served. The room, which is expected to launch before the end of the year, will seat ten guests, and the price for the dinner will be £55 with an option of an accompanying drinks flight. Manu Canales will head up the kitchen when Kebab Queen launches.