Little Bay is one of those places that just becomes dear to the heart of those who stumble across its warm embrace, managing to combine the three things that are starting to, sadly, disappear across the landscape of our food scene here in Britain- good, honest bistro food at prices that won’t require a second mortgage, served up with a twist of classic British eccentricity.
The interior maybe strictly Grecian kitsch but tucking into a glorious meal, derriere sitting pretty in a red velvet chair with a fantastic glass of chilled white wine, faces bathed in soft candlelight is enough to give even the slickest urban fox a dash of the London dandy about them.
Owner Peter Ilic earned his stripes in the kitchen of Claridges before jumping feet first into life as restaurant owner- rolling out a chain of Athenian dreams across five different locations and managing to stay the distance.
The very first Little Bay, opened on Kilburn High Road in 1992, still enlivens the area- testament to Ilic’s winning formula. In the following years, sister restaurants have popped up in Croydon, Farringdon and even Brighton though, sadly, their beautiful Battersea premises succumbed to fire in 2010.
Little Bay is rowdy yet romantic, luxurious yet inclusive and prices for a three-course meal compete with any pre-theatre menu except here, they bring the entertainment to you- more on that later.
The food is, at its heart, rustic Mediterranean with distinctly British ingredients… a steaming bowl of glorious garlic-y Moules Mariniere here, a rose-pink haunch of Venison there and an A la carte menu that will set you back a mere £13.95 for three fantastic courses in the evening, with an extensive range of drinks that are equally affordable.
On our visit to the Farringdon branch, we kicked our meal off (as recommended by charming waiter Nima) with a dish of perfectly panfried Chicken Livers accompanied by granary toast and a stunning pairing of Chorizo & Squid salad.
The Roast Potted Knuckle of Lamb was so tender that it literally melted in the mouth and the Chicken A-la-Peter was, like the restaurant itself, unusual yet ultimately extremely satisfying.
Save room for desserts though… in Little Bay land, every day is Christmas and a traditional pudding is up for grabs, jostling for attention alongside Profiteroles with Banana Cream and a gorgeous Vanilla Cheesecake lightly drizzled in Passion Fruit Coulis.
Remember that entertainment we mentioned earlier? Well, imagine a night at the Royal Opera House except this soloist takes requests, belts out an eclectic array of tunes covering everything from Les Miserables to the Rat Pack and wears an incredibly fetching pair of boots as he serenades you table-side. Opera not your thing? Little Bay have it covered with a range of musical tastes from folk and cabaret to jazz catered for.
It is all this attention to the smallest of details that make these restaurants such an attractive proposition- equally suitable for everything from a first date or a client lunch to a meal with a bunch of noisy mates. Family gatherings and office parties? Sorted. Little Bay are even open Christmas Day- dishing up a beautiful five courses of festive fare for the bargain price of £28.95.
With various locations London-wide to choose from, you could do a lot worse than Little Bay, a quirky little number that, no doubt, will become your new go-to local eatery.
To make contact or place a booking goto http://www.littlebay.co.uk/