‘Tis the season to say farewell! Not that I claim to be overly popular but since my nearest and dearest got wind of the reality and proximity of my move to the other side of the world they all dutifully clamoured for some ‘me’ time. Time with me that is. I assume this was part because I was shipping off to warmer climes and they needed to say goodbye, and part due to their bracing for my inevitable onslaught of Instagram photos mocking their cold March and wet April.
So this one leaving do was particularly good as I took the reins on where to go – how can I put this modestly – exceptionally. To be honest it wasn’t a hard decision as Le Bab has been all over my Facebook long before it existed in real life so I’ve had time to acclimatise to the ‘posh kebab’ concept and I have been itching to go ever since the idea was drunkenly pitched to a drunken us over a year ago and we were all like “godddd, that’s such a great idea – someone should totally do that”. Basically, one of the owners is a friend of my sister and to any friend of her’s I entrust my palette entirely.
Let’s paint the scene shall I. It’s 8:30, Kingly Court: buzzing, Carnaby Street: still lit up for some reason. My friends from my ski season and I were at the wine bar drankin’. Kingly Court, by the way, is great at drinking. We have a reservation, which we soon learn is a must at Le Bab nowadays: it is packed. We walked up the stairs, unfortunately, past Pizza Pilgrims. This is unfortunate as generally, for me, nothing beats pizza and I nearly aborted mission/ jumped ship/ surrendered entirely. I am very proud of myself that I walked on by, straight past the Pizza which was staring at me with doe eyes, directly to the destination (via a quick ‘nother drink in Rum Kitchen which had to be done).
As soon as we were seated it was clear why Le Bab has been at the centre of so much hype. It is a small, intimate restaurant which has a warm and cosy vibe and maintains a Mediterranean atmosphere. I thought it was a bit like Oklava, which I love. The waiters are all super friendly and clearly had good recommendations so we essentially followed their say so. Also, for a one dish themed place, there was a great amount of choice. I had the Corn Fed Chicken Shish and went halfsies with a Free Range Pork Shawarma – a great trick. Both were equally fab. Full of flavor and juicy meat. That’s juicy meat that you can tell hasn’t come from an old shed too, so, unique for a kebab. One other piece of advice from the waiters was the Lokma, a donut with chicken liver parfait in it. It was extremely rich and very smooth: which is just how I like my men (ONLY JOKING) – and a nice/different contrast to the bab.
The only thing you will have to get used to is that the portion size isn’t perhaps what one might be used to from the average 2am trundle via the kebab house. That’s probably the point. Quality over quantity ya know. But that’s not to say you should go here as part of your fast day on the 5:2 diet. I actually had plenty and obviously I loved every drop.
Le Bab isn’t suuper cheap and when you’re there you feel really flash so it’s a hard one to categorise, but as it is such great value for a wonderful evening out I’ve erred on the side of the frugal. This means you should go at once (/as soon as you can get a table) and order everything. Especially go if you fancy a huge feast of succulent pig’s head and crackling, which is by far the flashiest thing on their menu at £36, as I am desperate to hear about how delicious it is!
OH NO! I forgot to mention the amazing chips with fondue cheese! So the classic cheesy chip shop of Newcastle will also be out of business… Long live the chip shop, the chip shop is dead.
Website: Le Bab
Where: Kingly Court – half way down Carnaby Street