What a place! So, Soho has no shortage of places to eat. It is a mecca of cafes, restaurants, bars new and old. You really have to struggle to say you cannot find what you want in this area. In fact, I am afraid you would have to be some serious fuddy duddy to not settle on something for your lunch or dinner needs. Bonnie Gull is newish to the area, with an emphasis on seafood. On a side street in the middle of it all, this compact space has a long bar along the kitchen where you watch the prep of the dishes. I always favour this way of dining as I like to see the Chefs create their magic – especially if they are passionate about what they do. Here the Chefs are a happy go-lucky troupe, with a team effort that inspires.
On the floor, the staff work the tiny space well and are very friendly. Service is professional, knowledgeable but not at all stuffy. In a relaxed setting like this where you have to get up, close and personal due to the space, you have to be quite chilled. My recommendation would be not to sit at the stools nearest to the door. As you would expect the opening and shutting, people queuing right next to you eating can be a thing. Plus, I am not sure how comfortable that will be when the colder weather rings in. Apart from that absolutely no complaints here.
We went for some tapas style eating starting with two oysters and crab croquettes with curry mayo. Curry mayo was an interesting choice but really worked. The oysters had some blindingly big pieces of meat in them. Gorgeous. There was also some grilled Scottish langoustine in their shell cooked in a herb and garlic butter, not nearly enough of these beauties. The squid toast was delicate and fresh. My favourite was a ‘fish our of water’ in that it wasn’t fish. Bavette steak has always been a favourite of mine so I was intrigued to see how a seafood specialist would interpret meat. It was marinated in a basil pesto butter, cooked suitably pink. The meat melted in my mouth and was plentiful. Lush.
The entire experience was a well-rounded meal. As a ‘tapas’ style seafood bar, full marks. There are some seats and tables to the rear if you prefer that style of dining, but how could you not want to see the masters at work. Especially, when the finished product in front of you lives up to their skills. It was also nice to see a little bit of girlpower in the kitchen too!
With sites in Fitzrovia and Mayfair, this seaside offering in the city is a must-do on your foodie list.
22 Bateman Street
Soho W1 3AN