May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Tim Lamden
Monday, February 25, 2013
From humble beginnings, Bill Collison has built an impressive empire.
In the 12 years since he opened his first restaurant just yards from where he once sold veg in Lewes, East Sussex, the greengrocer has spread the Bill’s brand across England and Wales.
There are now 15 branches, including five in London alone, and another four set to open over the next six weeks.
One of the latest additions to the Bill’s family is the Soho branch in the heart of the West End.
Perched on the corner of Brewer Street and Lexington Street, this new spot ticks all the boxes for a relaxed pre-theatre feed.
36-44 Brewer Street, W1F 9TB
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Tel: 020 7287 8712
Mains: from £8.50
Wine: from £14.50 a bottle
Children welcome: Yes
Disabled access: Yes
I brought my mother along to help me try the dinner menu before reluctantly joining her down the road at the Phoenix Theatre for an evening performance of Argentine tango (not my idea of fun).
The restaurant’s menu is a hearty selection of British/Mediterranean favourites.
We began with the Mezze sharing board and a few mini Cumberland sausages, enhanced by a beautiful honey and mustard glaze.
The board was an adventure in itself, with halloumi skewers, pitta bread and a wonderful dipping selection, including salsa, hummus and, best of all, babaganouj - a Levantine dish of mashed aubergine.
As with much of its menu, Bill’s stocks and sells its own brand of beer to enjoy on site or take home with you.
I washed down my starter with the house beer and then spiced things up a bit with the Amaretto Sour, a lively cocktail of amaretto, pink lemonade and lemon juice.
For the main event, both my mum and I elected Bill’s red-blooded options with a burger for the young man and a 10 oz English rib eye for the old lady.
Both were cooked to pink perfection and complimented by classic fries and a wholesome selection of roasted roots with honey, grain
mustard and parsley.
The portions are as generous as they are tasty but nevertheless room should be saved for dessert.
We indulged in the deep-fried gluttony of Bill’s mini cinnamon doughnuts served with strawberries and lashings of warm chocolate sauce.
From start to finish, Bill’s menu doesn’t disappoint and the restaurant’s informal vintage feel provides a hub of relative calmness amid the West End’s hustle and bustle.
The chain’s next branch opens just off the Strand in a fortnight followed by an opening in Oxford a week later.
In these hard times it seems Mr Collison is onto a good thing.