Kebabs were once the preserve of post-lash pig-outs, only to be devoured after 2am. But, along with burgers, hot dogs and fried chicken, the humble ’bab has gone high class of late. Soho’s Le Bab was a part of this revolution when it debuted in 2016, and now the same team has opened this two-floor site in Covent Garden’s Mercer Walk development.
The reasonably priced menu kicks off with sharing-style starters, including the must-order doner beignet: a canapé-sized, deep-fried dough ball stuffed with tender lamb, and served with a slick of garlic sauce, that most classic of kebab condiments.
Come mains, guests can choose from various rotisserie-grilled meats piled on top of flatbread. We were impressed by the smoky and sweet pork shawarma: slow-cooked for 15 hours, then charcoal grilled and finished off with a drizzling of chermoula mayonnaise (a herby Moroccan paste).
Further reasons to visit include the cheeky cocktail list (the Call Me By Your Name references the most fun you can have with a peach) and the brilliantly named Kebab Queen, a basement chef’s table serving a set menu for up to 10 guests.
If we have a criticism, it’s that some of the messy, sticky-fingered fun of a kebab has been lost along the way, although the impressively swish interiors (dusty pink banquettes, a counter overlooking the open kitchen) are a welcome step up from strip lighting and formica. And if you do want to get down and dirty, you can always order a portion of chips to dunk into pots of thick-set fondue.