Bantof is an uncommon phrase. A made-up phrase. A phrase not present in any dictionaries. Random associations conjure up one thing to do with Banoffee Pie. Or the German phrase for ‘station’ – Bahnhof. Possibly even one thing to do with Banff ski resort in Canada. However no, all these miss the mark fully. The title was conjured up across the idea of a ‘dance off’ however as a substitute, utilized to the phrase ‘banter.’ A banter off – a verbal spar with your mates or colleagues, a playful linguistic dance round one another, a joke, a jest, a dialogue, a debate.
Bantof’s Maitre’d, Salad (you always remember a person referred to as Salad) explains the restaurant’s etymology however isn’t positive why there isn’t a second ‘f’, why Bantof isn’t Bantoff. Both approach, he actually lives as much as his restaurant’s essence, and is a pleasant presence all through, with a shiny Kenyan smile and a continuously easy heat. Set on two small eating flooring (intimate, cosy or cramped, relying on who you’re with and in what temper), on West Soho’s Nice Windmill Avenue, we eschew the inside areas with the piping dance music and head exterior to the terrace the place Salad lately celebrated his thirtieth birthday. The terrace is lengthy and skinny, comfortably sits six small events, and is surrounded by an sudden however fantastically curated wall of hanging vegetation at one finish and a mattress of wavering, sprouting greenery on the different.
The cocktail listing is unashamedly creative each in its naming of drinks and its mixing of elements. Wordplay as foreplay is de rigour; ‘A pair of silk stockings’, ‘Taboo’, ‘Up Market’. If you happen to’re the form of one who desires to indulge cocktail tasting along with your love of rap music, NWA particularly, and with one in every of Soho’s famed streets, Bantof has precisely the one for you: ‘Straight Outta Outdated Compton Avenue’. Themed round ‘horny soho’ and looking out just a little like a Pina Colada, this can be a heavy however pleasant mixture of pisco, ardour fruit, pineapple and vanilla. ‘At The Pillars of HERCULES’ is an ingenious nod to the legendary ingesting gap on the opposite aspect of Soho, positioned on the prime finish of Greek Avenue. It’s no shock due to this fact, or truly, it’s fairly a giant shock, to find Greek yoghurt is one in every of this cocktail’s major elements. Additionally current are cucumber cordial, recent mint and rum. It comes with a big ice dice to maintain every little thing cool (as a cucumber, presumably), is refreshing, curious to drink and tastes not dissimilar to tzatziki.
Created by Greek Asimakis Chaniotis, the youngest chef to ever be awarded a Michelin star in London, Bantof’s menu options plates to be shared. We eschew this idea, nonetheless, and order individually. Regardless that the Sea Bream Tartare comes with avocado, it’s nonetheless sudden to see the presentation; a concentric circle of inexperienced that appears a bit like a Christmas wreath. Fairly and mouth-watering, it’s adorned with herbs and smoked almonds however there’s not a slither of fish in sight. The seabream is combined with the avocado, in fact, and its chunks burst favourably with flavour. The yuzu dressing offers a citrus tang, renders the dish sprightly and crisp while the occasional smoked almond provides a extra sensual flavour and crunchy texture. The octopus is extra formal in its personal (sluggish) cooking however is a young delight with the fava bean puree including a creamy formality and the caper jam a titillating showiness, a reminder of its creator’s Michelin star excellence.
Aside from the Black Truffle Pizza, the mains are extra conservative in alternative and we go for the comparatively conventional. The rib eye steak is served with a beneficiant serving to of peppercorn sauce, cooked maitake mushrooms and uncooked button mushrooms. The medium-rare rib eye is smooth and tender however the occasional pockets of fats burst with liquid and add sudden flavour, texture and vitality. The rib eye could be straightforward to share because it’s reduce into items however the seabass (the one fish on the Mains menu), a lot much less so. It’s served off the bone and is a beneficiant portion, splayed in half; the tail is current however nothing else that may’t be eaten is. It virtually serves as its personal bowl and accommodates one other beneficiant portion, this time of salsa verde and samphire. The seabass is succulent and meaty and there’s an aftertaste of aniseed someplace, too.
We’re near being too full for dessert however power ourselves to share a triple chocolate mousse. It’s one thing that would have come straight out of the unique and iconic Patisserie Valerie (on Outdated Compton Avenue) and is an intricate rectangular with layers of creamy mousse on chocolate mousse on chocolate sponge. The plate can be rectangular, and pure white, however sprinkled with a triangle of chocolate mud. It’s an uncommon however intriguing contact and a sliced strawberry sits between each; it’s all as scrumptious because it sounds.
As a part of its affinity with Soho and what it stood for (maybe greater than what it now stands for), Bantof additionally prides itself on its creative partnerships so earlier than we depart, we examine the work that adorn the partitions on each the bottom and first ground. Acrylic on canvas, they’re all brightly colored and energetic, a mix of summary and sometimes impressionist. Some have a mix of repetitive and textural themes while others are extra outlined by their brush strokes. Some seem like they’re impressed by nature while some extra by an inside logic. Maybe most remarkably, they’re made by the 10-year-old, Ambla Klosi, a younger woman, it appears who’s already been to some locations and, absolutely, has many extra to locations to go to. Good luck to her! Her work are all accessible to buy and vary from £1800 to £3700. This would possibly add a mouth-watering improve to your invoice however would undoubtedly give you numerous to Bantof about on the journey residence!
Bantof embodies the essence of Soho – a spot the place creativity, historical past, and culinary excellence come collectively to create a very unforgettable eating expertise. Whether or not you’re a neighborhood or a customer, Bantof invitations you to discover the colourful tapestry of Soho whereas having fun with distinctive meals, cocktails, and artwork.
Web site: bantof.com
Handle: 31 Nice Windmill St, London W1D 7LW