28 St Martin's Courtyard, London, WC2E 9AB
- Recommended for:
- Backpackers / Students, Families with teenagers, Singles, People watching, Shopping
Expert review of Bill's
This is the first London branch of a cheery Sussex-born business that fuses café and delicatessen (in the European sense of the word). You eat surrounded by brightly labeled groceries, under hanging wads of rainbow coloured tissue paper and strings of dried chillies – it’s fun, if highly stylized.
They suggest that local sourcing is a hallmark of the operation but hello: chorizo, halloumi, olives, couscous... it’s a Mediterranean menu with a few staples like fish finger sandwiches, hamburgers and a Thai prawn curry thrown in. Chargrilled chorizo on brioche bun with red peppers, hummus and yoghurt was lip-smackingly fabulous (the foodie next door thought it the best sandwich she’d ever eaten), however the portion size was a little mean given the £8.95 price tag, and the much-heralded skin-on chips were replaced by bland skinless specimens on my visit. Lemon curd cheesecake is a great rendition, the coffee’s well made and the bottled beer is from respected Lewes brewers Harvey’s.
Bill’s upmarket groceries may well be a godsend down south, but products of similar calibre are already readily available across London, so here they feel a bit superfluous. In any case the room’s jammed with tables and browsing the shelves isn’t easy. Should you want something (the big jars of marmalade looked good), there’s a bagging service where you tick items on an order sheet and staff will collect and pack them for you, then add the sum to your café bill.
Gastropub meets deli with open kitchen, blackboards, old school chairs, oatmeal tins holding the cutlery... you know the drill.
Friendly, plentiful and on the ball. The queue of customers is nicely handled.
An enclave of new-built restaurants tucked off St Martin’s Lane, great for shopping, after work, or pre-theatre or cinema. Incidentally: in these early days at least, the queue makes it a difficult place to meet up with friends unless you agree to meet outside.
One course and a drink, or cake and a coffee, would make this the sort of place you could spend under £15 but really it’s mid-range: two courses, a drink, one coffee and service cost me just over £23. Mains start at £7.50 for a BLT with chips but you could pay £15.95 for chargrilled ribeye steak.
See Bill's website below for details of the branches in Brighton, Lewes and Reading.
More information on Bill's:
- Price guide:
- Brasserie, Café, Deli
- British, Burgers, Mediterranean, Snacks
- 28 St Martin's Courtyard, London, WC2E 9AB
- 020 7240 8183
- Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Mon-Thur 8am-11pm, Fri 8am-11pm, Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 9am-10.30pm.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Not possible
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Breakfast, Coffee and cake