Gail’s Kitchen, Bloomsbury

Octopus, Gail's Kitchen, london

Chargrilled octopus with chickpeas and harissa (£7.50)

Finally, a legitimate reason for the dreaded ‘small plates’. Every plate we tried at Gail’s Kitchen was so enticing, beautifully balanced and tasty that I would have to order them all again on a repeat visit. And we would never have been able to eat my way through so many were it not for their size. Only six between three, mind; it was early and they’re small, not teeny.

New potato and roast aubergine salad with soft boiled egg, flatbread and herbs (£8)

New potato and roast aubergine salad with soft boiled egg, flatbread and herbs (£8)

Don’t let the association with the ‘artisan’ bakery or its hotel lobby home put you off; this is a lovely place to eat. Informative but nonchalant staff make efficient service seem boringly easy, and the interior’s handsome but on the comfortable side of trendy. With such a varied menu it would have been easy to mess something up, but each pile of flavours was an absolute treat, with only the vegetarian dishes (potato and aubergine salad, pictured above, and burrata) settling at anything less than memorable.

Sticky chicken from Gail's Kitchen, London

Sticky chicken with roast carrots (£8)

We ran out of time for dessert, but given the skill with which simple combinations became exciting creations on the rest of the menu, they will happen next time. Especially if they mean an excuse to order an extra cocktail, for they were also packed with refreshing flavour. Gail’s Kitchen’s hardly on a foodie thoroughfare, wedged between a leafy Bloomsbury Square and Tottenham Court Road’s strip of dodgy camera repair shops, but they’re doing everything so right that hopefully they’ll last longer than the artisan bakery does.

Gail’s Kitchen
★★★★★   £££
11 – 13 Bayley Street, WC1B 3HD, 020 7323 9694

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