Not the best known spot, Bbar is one of those place which visitors become glad to get to know, offering an interesting option in the notoriously banal area that is Victoria.
BBar is the type of place which people tend to miss. Located on the busy Buckingham Palace Road you are more likely to pass by on bus or bike than on foot, and in an area with virtually no residents, it's perhaps no surprise that Bbar is not more known. And yet, the bar and restaurant is a fine spot, with an (admittedly discreet) African theme to its decor, complete with demure paintings and wooden African crafts scattered here and there.
The fact that Bbar could be more known doesn't mean that it's not frequented. In fact a crowd of fashionably wealthy twenty-somethings seems to claim the bar area as their own, creating an upbeat atmosphere that would only get annoying if you were sat right amongst them. The service is impeccable, with the managers extremely pleasant and focused on pleasing the customers, and the kind and friendly waiting staff stealing a smile even when they forget your order.
There's an African influence on some of the menu, allowing some dishes to bring some really interesting ingredients to the table, such as springbok, or boerewors sausages. The starters (£5.50-£7) begin well, with a good chicken liver pâté and tastier-than-usual hummous and baba ganoush on pita bread. The elaborate salads (£10-£13) carry on the sophistication, with the goat’s cheese and beetroot salad with spicy walnuts and balsamic dressing combining ingredients well.
It's the mains (£11-£28.50), though, that add a touch of exoticism with ingredients such as the springbok, which is cut into fillets and served rare with sweet potato puree, spinach, baby carrots and redcurrant sauce. Not particularly gamy, this is a great meat dish hitting all the right buttons - including, of course, the novelty one. The desserts are a return to the classics and the vanilla cheesecake is a divine conclusion to a robust and very manly meal.
The cocktail list is composed mostly of classics (£7-£11.50) - think Mojitos, Long Island Iced Teas, Daiquiris, Cosmopolitans and all the other favourites. Some unusual concoctions like the 'Mandarin Japanese Cocktail 1860s' also crop up, and are very welcome additions. The wine list is predictably mostly South African and with good reason, as some bottles (from £23) are of excellent quality. The usual spirits, liqueurs, soft drinks and even mocktails (£4.75-£5.50) are also on offer.
The Last Word
BBar distinguishes itself thanks to an exotic menu, quality cocktails and wonderful staff. So if you're in Victoria and need somewhere more interesting than a chain, you know where to go.