It’s a real testament to the popularity of Le Bun that they can open a summer pop-up in a rowdy Brixton pub and then move to a top boutique hotel for their winter pop-up at the Zetter Hotel in Clerkenwell. They’ve appeared at the Old Bengal bar in the city, they’ve taken over a Dalston pub; wherever they move, their loyal supporters follow as well as winning over new devotees.
Their founders Andy Taylor and Tim Talbot have founded the perfect formula for a successful marriage combining the finesse of French cuisine with the relaxed serving style of an American diner. Their skilful reinvention of classic dishes make them a unique proposition amongst the crowded gourmet diner market.
Be prepared for an abundance of sensory stimulation from the food to the decor to the staff uniforms. The staff are all dressed in summery Hawaiian shirts with service as prompt as you would expect from hotel trained staff. The classic, modern look of the dining room is filled with vintage televisions, boomboxes, cinemax projectors and vhs players to give the space a quirkier feel.
If you don’t like truffle or strong-tasting dishes, then maybe Le Bun isn’t the right place for you; however if you appreciate rich tasting menus, then this pop-up should be the first port of call this Christmas season. The highlight is the truffle double double: double patty, double truffle, double cheese. It is two aged brisket & chuck patties, truffled veal jam, truffle mayo, American cheese and brioche. Perhaps it should be called the double trouble, because it does taste as sinful as it sounds, yet it is as addictive as it looks. It’s loud, it’s brash, it’s oh so distinctively Le Bun
Everything on the menu is devilishly indulgent. I have also tried the le bourguignon bun; apart from the beautifully tender tasting beef shin, there is bourguignon glaze, bacon salt, truffle mayo and Champagne slaw. The multitude of ingredients do go together supremely well, although like most of their dishes, you might suffer from truffle breath. If there are any issues, it is their portion size; it’s more French haute cuisine rather than American diner portion sizes. However, it is easily forgivable given the top quality ingredients they use. Like their Philly cheese steak dish which uses the finest quality rare rump and foraged wild mushrooms.
Plans are afoot to open their permanent restaurant soon and no doubt one aspect they will need to work on are the beverage options. So far they’ve mostly relied on the venues they’ve appeared in to supply the drinks. The drinks list at the Zetter pop-up is quite limited; in the evening it’s one type of white wine, red wine and beer and 3 classic cocktails. However, if you do head there for brunch, a must order drink is their chipotle cheeseburger bloody marie; yes it is indeed a standard bloody mary with an outrageous burger as garnish.
In the fast evolving London dining scene, Le Bun is one name to keep an eye on, as they go from strength to strength with every pop-up they organise. They have created a stand out menu in an often crowded and conformist marketplace.