We ventured into Fitzrovia, an area that we think is underrated on the food scene. Often over-looked due to it sitting right next door to Soho, Fitrovia has some of the best restaurants in London. Here are our top picks.
Middle Eastern food in Fitzrovia? Well, it's here. The Idle Man heads down to Foley's restaurant to check out what they have to offer, and I can tell you, you won't be dissapointed.
'Modern World Food' is the name of the game at Foley’s restaurant in Fitzrovia where head chef Mitz Vora has created an exciting and innovative small plates menu with a comforting middle eastern tinge to it.
As we arrived the Maitre D was on hand to greet us at the door and her regular check ups felt surprisingly genuine compared to the usual Soho Haunts. The restaurant itself is spread over two floors, for a change, the lighting is spot on and there is just the right amount of buzz to make the place feel modern, trendy and informal.
Our relationship with food is of course heavily influenced by not just taste but by all our senses, and sight is of particular significance. Seated at the bar overlooking the open kitchen we were served a visual orgasm as we watched the chefs churn out a range of exotic, edible works of art like a well oiled machine.
As we settled into our spot a bowl of Puffed Lotus Seeds were placed on our table to keep us going as we perused the short but nicely tailored menu. As we slurped down our Passion fruit Pisco Sours we watched as first dates and large groups co-existed seamlessly in the spaces that Foley’s has carved out for its guests in the restaurants basement. Impressive to say the least.
The Tempura Aubergine arrived first, bristling with burnt jalapeño and a sprinkling of Feta followed closely by a slow cooked octopus taco, black sesame mayo, spicy pork mince, bok choy and homemade Sriracha served on a roti taco cooked over coals. It was as good as it sounded and this was only the beginning of our culinary roller coaster. We munched our way through Goan crab with crispy shallots, tamarind BBQ pork belly with paper thin apple slices and swede vermicelli and salmon tartare served in a handsome tapioca shell.
The dishes are small and well suited for sharing, each one was rich with exciting flavour combinations and textures. The prices range between £6-9 per serving and three or four is about right so don’t expect to see a huge amount of change from £50 with drinks and tip.
Foley’s possesses an, unfortunately, rare trait for Soho in that it feels equally suitable for a first date, a birthday party or dinner with your visiting parents. It oozes with the natural cool of a modern, trendy restaurant with a suitably delectable food offering a big thumbs up from The Idle Man.
What to Wear
Although Foley's may not be the most formal of restaurants, it still certainly calls from something smart and put together. Think Oxford shirts, chinos and either a smart pair of trainers or a pair of loafers. This winning combination can take you from dinner at Foley's to a relaxing drink afterwards.
Bao Fitzrovia opened up its doors on July 7th, joining Soho's joint and BAO bar in east London to give BAO a total of three outposts across the capital. The new restaurant on Windmill Street takes what was already on offer at the other venues and elevates it, making this the chain's top place to eat.
With regards to the food down at BAO Fitz, the menu has been split into four. Dishes will focus primarily on the delicious BAOs themselves, with further dishes comprising of fish, seafood, rice and vegetables. The exquisite menu kicks off with Xiao Chi’ which translates as small bites and guests can dine on plates consisting of the likes of ‘Beef cheek & tendon nuggets’ and ‘Fried Chicken Chop, Hot Sauce'.
Next comes the buns or baos, and we really recommend getting one of each (in particular the pork belly bar). Don't know what a bao is or why on earth a restaurant would be named it? Well a bao is essentially a bun and the ones down at BAO are made in-house using milk, wheat flour and a roux. The baos are steamed to result in a soft and pillowy delicacy. While the baos already on offer are pretty spectacular, we must also note that the Fitzrovia restaurant is now offering black cod baos, which are unique to the eatery.
What we recommend doing if you venture down to BAO is sharing a few (or all) dishes amongst you and two others. Dishes are relatively small and 4 or 5 may fill up one person, but we really think the best thing to do is to try them all as each one is as unique as the next. We were completely thrown by the sharing platter which consisted of a a spicy chicken dripping in oils and sauces, with a few baos to soak it all up after.
To top it off, the desserts are pretty special and we couldn't get enough of the ice cream and peanut brittle - a taste explosion. Cleanse your palette with a few of BAO's specialist beers - rice beer will go down a treat!
The interior of BAO is quite something too. Basically, if you decide to dine upstairs you sit at the bar, and if you decide to dine downstairs you can either sit with a full view of the open kitchen or at a secluded table. Either way, every seat is the best seat in the house. The industrial setting means that all the focus is on the food, which is exactly what you want.
What To Wear
BAO has no set dress code so it really is a free-for-all. We recommend going simple and wearing a T-shirt and jeans or chinos. It's also pretty warm down in the basement of BAO so we recommend leaving the layers at home.