Murray Blake

London food and coffee writer

Bill’s

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28 St Martin’s Courtyard, off Long Acre, WC2E 9AB
Nearest tube: Covent Garden
0207 240 8183
Bill's on Urbanspoon
map; website

Bill’s is a UK-wide restaurant and grocery chain that serves unchallenging British and Mediterranean food.  The Covent Garden restaurant is handily placed a stone’s throw away from the Seven Dials and it is a bit of rough diamond amongst the putrid chain restaurants that populate the surrounding area.  Due to its location it gets very busy at weekends so you will probably need to queue for a table, but I’d say that you should not need to wait more than 20 minutes.  They do a good line in salads and sharing plates like mezze and antipasto.  I wasn’t feeling healthy enough to order a salad, but the reviews I’ve read speak very highly of them and given that Bill’s shop next door sells fresh fruit and veg I imagine the ingredients would be tip-top.  The breakfasts also seem hearty – see londontastin.

I went for Saturday lunch and the atmosphere was bustling, mostly with shopping bag laden girls with the odd bored male clustered amongst them.  We started with homemade tortillas with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.  The tortillas were very fresh and light, and the dips were excellent.  To follow, I had haddock and chips with mushy peas – one of my dining companions had ordered a fish stew which we were told would take 20 minutes and I think my fish had been cooked early and left on the pass for quite a while because the batter was very soggy (this was not helped by the fish being “artfully” presented on a dollop of mushy peas meaning the moisture of the peas soaked into the batter creating a big moosh).  I shouldn’t be too hard on the chefs because I reckon that they cleared about 250 covers that lunchtime. Less excusable was my post lunch espresso which was truly awful – it tasted like engine oil mixed with angusturra – given all the strides made in quality of coffee in London recently why is restaurant coffee generally still rubbish?

Verdict: I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat at Bill’s but it is still one of the better options in Covent Garden.

Also see: foodforthink and aghte.

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Author: murraycsblake

London food blogger.

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