★★★★ | Bloomsbury Street Kitchen, London
Lower Bloomsbury Street has finally come alive with the opening of the new restaurant Bloomsbury Street Kitchen.
In the restaurant space in the Bloomsbury Hotel that used to be Steak & Lobster, and a whole host of other boring restaurants that just weren’t exciting, Bloomsbury Street Kitchen changes all that.
Part of the Street Kitchen brand (others include May Fair Kitchen, Monmouth Kitchen, Leicester Square Kitchen, and Peter Street Kitchen (Manchester)), Bloomsbury Street Kitchen serves contemporary Japanese and Mediterranean small plates in a very cool and contemporary setting, with staff who are attentive, international, and very knowledgeable about the food.
As you walk in, you are enveloped in an olive tree-adorned entrance, into a room that is beautifully designed, sleek, comfortable, and oh so cool. And this also describes the food. The small plates come in all sorts of varieties and flavours, in different categories such as Starters, Fish and Seafood, Small Plates and Salads, Signature Gyros, Japanese Flat Tacos, Bincho Grills, and Sides (these are the categories we ordered from), but there are a few others as well.
One of my favourite dishes of the ten we ordered on our Thursday night visit was the Zucchini and eggplant chips with tzatziki (a steal at £5). Eight piled high, deep fried, the tzatziki had a twirled cucumber in it – and was absolutely divine, and great value for the money. The Oven-baked lobster and king prawn with parmesan crème and chilli herb crust was beautifully presented in a seashell, had a nice golden brown crust on top, but was a bit too rich, but at £14 it’s a right price.
The Crispy-spiced Lamb Bites from the Small Plates menu were very good. Similar to empanadas, the dish included 6, not spicy at all, but a bit pricey at £9. The Crab and asparagus salad with dijon mustard and lemon mayo from the same section of the menu was absolutely delicious. A fairly large portion, the mustard and lemon enhanced the taste of this dish (£9) as well, and it was very very unique.
We also ordered the Slow-cooked glazed lamb shoulder with chilli fries and lemon feta yoghurt from the Signature Gyros menu – at £9 you get two gyros, medium sized, that are tasty. These are not quite a main dish, but the lamb was delicious. The Japanese Flat Tacos, however, are not tacos at all but tortilla crisps (4 in total for each order) laid out flat with a topping. We had the Tuna sashimi with truffle ponzu mayo (£7) and the Seared beef tenderloin with wasabi and shichimi mayo (£9). The seared beef literally melted on our tongues (but was a bit salty) while the tuna was chunky and good. Next time I would skip these and order other dishes. I would also skip the Bincho Grill choices (King Prawns and Baby Chicken). We ordered the prawns which were smothered in chilli and cumin and were very very spicy. Two sticks with two each – it comes to your table in a bincho (hibachi) grill – so expect lots of smoke! But for what you get it’s not good value for the money. Instead throw in a couple of the side dishes – specifically the Chilli and sake flamed tender stem broccoli (£5) – very very good.
There are loads of cocktails to choose from. I had the Rosé Sangria which included San Salvatore Rosé, Malfy Rosa gin, RinQuinQuin, Hystérie liqueur, strawberry, raspberry, lemon and nasturtium (£10.50).
Beautifully coloured, tasty, and refreshing, it made for a nice start to the evening. My dining companion had the non-alcoholic Pineapple and Cucumber drink. While a bit too tart, the green in color cemented this as a healthy option. Other unique options include Lychee & Elderflower Martini, Kyoto Sour (whisky, ginger, apple, citric cordial, yuzu, rosemary and egg white) (£9.50), Hoba Smoked Old Fashioned (Diplomático rum, Laphroaig whisky, Mozart Black, umeshu, chocolate bitters and hoba leaf smoke (£11.50), and other wonderfully-flavoured uniquely different cocktails.
Bloomsbury Street Kitchen also has a Vegan Menu, and a lunch and pre-theatre menu, A Christmas Day menu (at £95), and a New Years Eve menu (£75). The restaurant is centrally located, minutes away from Tottenham Court Road Station, and accepts reservations here:
Bloomsbury Street Kitchen is an excellent addition to this dreary area of London. Come for the unique selection of drinks and stay for the unique selection of dishes, and atmosphere. There is a DJ on some nights, but it’s not loud and gives the restaurant the cool vibe that will make it last.
T: +44 20 7666 2044
9-13 Bloomsbury St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3QD
Monday – Saturday: 7am – 10.30am
Sunday: 7.30am to 11am
Monday – Saturday: 12pm – 2.30pm
Sunday: 12.30pm – 3pm
Sunday to Thursday: 5pm – 10.30pm
Friday to Saturday: 5pm – 10.45pm
Monday – Friday: 5pm – 6.30pm
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.