New hope in NoHo

New hope in NoHo

Sometimes it’s hard to find the most obvious things in the most obvious places. While much of London (and indeed the UK) has been besotted with the British food revival for some time, just north of Oxford Street in Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia (the area north of Soho, and consequently nicknamed ‘Noho’), the choices are strangely few and far between.

But just like the buses that serve central London, you may wait an age for one, but then two will come at once. First up is Gail’s Kitchen, which is surely set to see the Atkins Diet finished for good. Gail’s Bakery has been serving first-class bread in Bayley Street, Bloomsbury for years, and now they’ve put their baking skills at the heart of a new restaurant (pictured above) right next door.

Serving starters and sharing plates, the menu oozes with appealing carb-enriched goodness, such as braised chicory, smoked pancetta with red wine and fig sourdough and smoked prawns with aioli and caramelised garlic bread, while desserts hold treats like pear croissant with brown sugar-custard and honey toasted brioche.

There are plenty of non-breaded eats if wheat isn’t your thing. With those warming wonders inside you, there’s little to fear from whatever the British winter may hold when you step outside. Gail’s Kitchen promises to be a grown-up restaurant, but the sharing plates (priced around ?9) are there to encourage a relaxed atmosphere.

Meanwhile, just a couple of corners away, chef Peter Weeden, previously of The Boundary in East London, is bringing back traditional British cooking in an uncompromising way to the Newman Street Tavern (opening 30 November). Whole carcasses such as Galloway beef and venison are to be matured and butchered in-house, as well as properly hung game, and fresh fish from Cornwall featuring regularly on the menu.

A downstair’s bar includes a two-metre long salvaged and restored enamel trough packed with oysters from around the British coast, as well as clams, whelks, cockles, crab, langoustines and sea urchins – depending on the catch of the day.

The first-floor dining room will serve dishes such as devilled rabbit offal, game tea, quail with apple and black pudding or grilled Galloway wing rib. With choices such as these, it’s unlikely the Bloomsbury Set would have ever left for Charleston at all.

Gail’s Kitchen, 11-13 Bayley Street, Bedford Square, London WC1 ( Newman Street Tavern, 48 Newman Street, London W1 (

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