Jason Allen 06/12/22
Bubala Soho | Heavenly Middle Eastern Food
Fluffy, delicate flatbreads. Silky, burnt butter hummus. Glossy, fried aubergines lavished with date syrup & zhoug.
If you’ve been to Bubala in Spitalfields, you’ve had all of these.
And you’ll be extremely happy to hear that they’ve opened a second, larger restaurant in Soho with a whole swathe of all new dishes & drinks.
For anyone who hasn’t been to Bubala, it’s a pop-up that turned into one of the best restaurants in East London. And the fact that it’s an entirely vegetarian restaurant is neither here nor there – any diner will be enthralled by the parade of inventive & delicious dishes served up by Executive Chef Helen Graham (former head chef at The Palomar).
For their second swing at greatness, they’re found a spot on Poland Street that comes with an impressive pedigree: until last year, it was home to the legendary Italian restaurant Vasco & Piero’s, and before them it was home to Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (though, to be clear, there were quite a few other tenants in between).
They’ve decorated it in their classic style, with beautifully rustic peach plastered walls lightened up with sweeps of aqua across the ceiling, although this time they’ve added shelves filled with a colourful parade of house-made ferments & pickles. All told, it’s got enough space for 50 spice-lusting diners, plus half a dozen more at the bench table overlooking the open kitchen, where they’ve installed a fancy new yakitori grill (and just as well, since it’s one of the most popular restaurants in Soho).
On that yakitori, they’re scorching all-new dishes like hispi cabbage with seaweed, dried orange and sesame; as well as some meaty charred oyster mushroom skewers with Tamara, coriander seed, and agave; and leeks dipped in some brightly flavourful Indian-style mango ‘amba’ sauce. Other new menu-fillers include a half head of roasted cauliflower with a gorgeously nutty flavour sat on a bed of yoghurt & Tunisina bkelia stew, and grapefruit ‘ezme’ salad with tahini & pomegranate molasses.
Of course, they’re also playing a few of the hits from Spitalfields too, including their hunks of fried halloumi with a beautifully caramelised crust, bathed in fennel honey & chamomile; their burnt butter hummus; and their absurdly crispy potato latkes with their beautiful, mille-feuilles-like folds.
The drinks menu’s also had a little upgrade too. For those looking to take it easy, there’s a list of house-made seltzers (‘gazoz’, they call them) with sparkling-topped syrups like strawberry, peppermint, and basil, or a refreshing mix of blueberry, jasmine, rosemary, and thyme. Buuuut if you want that booze, then rest assured there is wine, and there are cocktails – the latter of which includes a peanut-infused old fashioned, a blood orange-loaded margarita, and a lemon & lavender spritz with a breezy hit of sparkling rosé.
Ol’ Shelley would probably find a few poems in there.
NOTE: Bubala Soho is open for lunch & dinner, Monday – Saturday. You can find out more, and make a booking, at the website right HERE.
Bubala Soho | 15 Poland Street, W1F 8PR
Got beef with beef? Here are the best vegetarian restaurants in London.
15 Poland Street, Soho, Central London, W1F 8PR
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8.8 | Great
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