What: A fast-casual arepa and ceviche bar that has been designed by its founders to showcase the best of Venezuelan cuisine.
Who: Sabroso is the creation of brothers Gabriel and Jose-Luis Gonzalez, who also own Lima London in Fitzrovia and its sister site Lima Floral in Covent Garden. Speaking to BigHospitality, Gabriel revealed that the concept is something the pair had been considering for a couple of years. “We wanted to move away from the full-service model, and create a format that gave diners the freedom to create their own meals,” he says. “It had to be affordable, and have a grab-and-go element. But more than anything we wanted to ensure it was an offering people would view as both delicious and high quality.”
The food: The menu is broken down into two main sections: arepas (£6.95 each) and ceviche bowls (£9 each). Both can be designed to order by the diner, or alternatively there are a selection of signature fillings to choose from. Signature arepas include reina pepiá (roasted chicken with avocado salad and spicy mayonnaise); pelúa (braised beef with cheddar cheese); and perico vegano (tofu with onions and tomato sofrito). The poke-inspired ceviche bowls are available with a base of rice, quinoa or mixed salad, with signature toppings including salmon and tuna options. Sides (£3.95 each) include yuca fries; and tequeños (crispy cheese pastries served with homemade mango chutney). While dessert options are limited to tres leches sponge cake soaked in three types of milk, and alfajores shortbread filled with dulche de leche.
The vibe: Located towards the back of Westfield London’s Balcony Court, Sabroso’s location initially appears to be a bit secluded, but Gabriel and Jose-Luis have attempted to counter this by making the branding as eye-catching as possible. The bar itself has a neat finish, with a colourful design and glass displays allowing diners to see the food as it’s prepared. Seating is communal, and shared by Sabroso and other operators including Bleecker Burger, which has just opened its own new site next door.
And another thing: Sabroso’s arrival in Westfield London comes as a host of food and beverage operators prepare to open within the West London shopping centre. As well as Bleecker, Indian restaurant group Copper Chimney has just opened its first UK outpost there. While next month, Stevie Parle’s Pastaio will open its second London restaurant on the centre’s Southern Terrace, and Judy Joo will launch her new Korean fried chicken concept Seoul Bird. It was also recently confirmed that high-profile restaurateur Alan Yau will open his Turkish street food brand Yamabahçe in Westfield London next year.
Balcony Court Café, Westfield, London W12 7GF
To read our interview with Gabriel Gonzalez, pick up the November issue of Restaurant magazine, the leading title for the UK's restaurant industry. For more features, comment, interviews and in-depth analysis of the restaurant sector subscribe to Restaurant magazine here.