I walk through Soho nearly every day and I’m used to the many restaurants and bars I see all the time. However, a few weeks ago I was walking down Brewer Street at night and was immediately struck by Bill’s, a new addition to Soho which took the space previously filled by Zilli Fish.
It couldn’t look more different than Zilli Fish. It was warm and inviting, filled with low-lit chandeliers and lots of candles. It’s my perfect look for a restaurant. Lighting is so important. I hate brightly lit places, it greatly affects my eating experience. I would never choose to walk into a brightly lit restaurant. So walking past Bill’s made me stop in my tracks, it looked so lovely. At the time I was on my way elsewhere, but on Saturday night I met up with my gorgeous friend Kirsty who is currently performing in the fantastic play Chariots Of Fire at the Gielgud Theatre. It’s right round the corner from Brewer Street so we decided to go to Bill’s. We hadn’t booked but they were still taking walk-ins. After a 10 minute wait, we were in.
The restaurant itself has a really homely, welcoming feel with lots of wood, chandeliers, and bunches of sun-dried tomatoes hanging from the ceiling.
The menu is pretty varied and standard British…fish pie, steak and chips, hamburger and chips, fish finger sandwiches etc. I reckon most people could find something to eat.
Kirsty ordered the pan-fried salmon with beetroot tortellini with a pea, mint and red chicory salad and watercress tartare (£10.85).
It was great. The salmon was perfectly cooked and the beetroot tortellini was fantastic. So vibrant in colour and so fresh in taste. The pasta was light, allowing the beetroot to shine.
As it had been raining all day, I was after something comforting so I went for ‘Bill’s macaroni cheese’ with wild mushrooms and leeks topped with a crispy crumb (£8.50)
I really enjoyed this. The crispy topping was really crunchy and thick and the sauce wasn’t overly cheese and creamy like a lot of macaroni cheeses can be, therefore it wasn’t sickly or stodgy. I love mushrooms so it was lovely to have them in there although I would have appreciated a few more.
We got a tomato, basil, red onion & olive salad (£2.95) on the side which was a nice fresh addition although I do get annoyed when restaurants don’t have a good salt on the table. They only had pouring table salt. I expect a pinch pot of sea salt nowadays.
For pudding, Kirsty pounced on the warm mini cinnamon doughnuts with fresh strawberries and warm chocolate dipping sauce (£5.50). That was one of the first things she noticed on the menu when we sat down.
These were incredible and worth the trip for them alone. They were warm and light as a feather, with just the right amount of cinnamon dusted on them. They were perfect on their own, they didn’t need the chocolate sauce on the side which tasted quite synthetic and not very pleasant on the tongue. A ganache would have been better if they really must add a chocolate sauce.
I opted for their warm pecan pie which is supposed to come with malted banana ice cream (£5.95). I didn’t like the sound of the ice cream so I asked for cream instead. I was pleasantly surprised when they presented me with ‘proper’ cream. Not out of a can, not single pouring cream…this was extra thick double cream. It might even have been clotted cream. It was perfect.
I will definitely be going back to Bill’s. The staff were very friendly and accommodating, especially seeing as we turned up on a Saturday night without a reservation. There was a great atmosphere, the decor was warm and inviting and the food was great. Even better, the bill was very reasonable. In fact, I keep thinking about the cinnamon doughnuts so I’ll probably be back there next week, for them if for nothing else.
Bill’s, 36-44 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9TB
Tel: 020 7287 8712
Monday – Wednesday: 8am – 11pm
Thursday – Saturday: 8am – Midnight
Sunday: 9am – 10.30pm
They also have branches in Covent Garden, Wimbledon Richmond and Islington as well as round the country. You can see locations here.