Brummell recommends: Maison Bab

Fusion kebabs and mezze are the orders of the day at this fun and fresh second effort from the Le Bab team

Food and Drink 20 Feb 2020

15-Hour Pork Shawarma at Maison Bab
The Aubergine Sabich at Maison Bab
Maison Bab's bright and stylish dining space, designed by Angus Buchanan

The background

Maison Bab is the second restaurant from Stephen Tozer, Manu Canales and Ed Brunet, who are known for bringing a modern spin to the kebab in London. It is the larger sibling of the team’s acclaimed first restaurant Le Bab, which opened in 2016 in Soho, and boasts a totally different menu, showcasing bold flavours through fusion kebabs and mezze. Situated on Mercer Walk in the heart of theatreland in Covent Garden, Maison Bab provides a tasty and surprising offering to casual diners and the pre-theatre crowd. Playfulness of character, delicious food and gracious hospitality are the team’s watchwords.

The space

The setting, created by interior designer Angus Buchanan, is casual, stylish and colourful. Split across two floors, Maison Bab has an open kitchen on the ground floor and a patterned stone bar for counter dining, as well as plush green leather dining booths, pastel parquet flooring, graffiti touches and neon lighting. Downstairs includes a second cocktail bar, plush pink seating and late-night kebab shopfronts containing a second open kitchen, and the entrance to hidden fine dining restaurant, Kebab Queen.

The menu

The small but perfectly formed menu consists of three core “babs”: the 15 Hour Pork Shawarma with pickled cucumber and chermoula mayo; the Fried Chicken Shish Kebab with southern fried chicken crackling, coriander, red cabbage slaw and Kashmiri chilli; and the Dipped Lamb Adana served with crispy pickled onions, all artfully arranged atop freshly baked sourdough flatbreads. The Maison Sabich (Israeli-inspired sandwich with smoked aubergine, yoghurt, chilli peanuts, shallots, chilli and cress) is an inventive and authentic veggie option.

For a starter, the mezze platter for two is the best choice for the indecisive. Creamy hummus comes with pickled onion and roasted peanuts; the unmissable doner beignets are crispy fried balls of slow-cooked lamb; and the Iskender naan gives a spicy tomato hit.

Opting for the pork and lamb babs for main, Brummell ordered a side of double-cooked chips, which come with the option of a cheese fondue dipping/pouring sauce, which was impossible to pass up. A simple green salad was elevated by pickled herbs and a zingy lemon and tahini dressing, and cut through the richness of the other dishes. The slow-cooked 15hr pork was melt-in-the-mouth with a hint of smoke, and the soft, highly flavoursome lamb was balanced well by the preserved cucumber and crispy onions.

The drinks

A short yet concise cocktail menu offers innovative twists on classics, such as the Espresso Babtini (Jungle Super-Brew, Pedro Ximénez sherry, Grey Goose vodka), Diamond Daquiri (Bacardi Carta Blanca with clarified sours mix), and Gin & Chronic (Azuca CBD sugar, Bombay Sapphire and lemon).

There is also a dedicated tonics menu, with everything from classic G&Ts to the Portuguese answer to the Aperol Spritz – the White Port & Tonic. Brummell decided a light and refreshing drink was required alongside the bold and filling food, so a vodka and elderflower tonic was promptly ordered.

The bill

Starter, mains, sides and drinks for two, £85

The verdict

Perfect for a casual evening with friends, an intimate dinner for two, or a tasty pre-theatre meal. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and the prices are very reasonable for food of such a high standard in such a sought-after location.

 Maison Bab, 4 Mercer Walk, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9FA;