Just out the other side of Covent Garden, on the way down to the Strand, Bistro 1 is tucked away on Southampton St like a sultry Mediterranean bella donna coquettishly proffering her fulsome delights to all and sundry with a devil-may-care attitude befitting the central London boho lifestyle quintessentially summed up by Mary Poppins with the word, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. In general that short series of wrongness means that we think it’s one of the best restaurant finds in the area, so give it a go if you fancy it.
With a menu stacked with all sorts of Mediterranean cuisine, a really friendly service and a cute look and feel it’s made all the better by the fact that it’s also one of the more reasonable restaurants in Covent Garden. Kind of ramshackle in its table arrangement, it’s got a lot of character that’s about as sincere as it gets in the big smoke.
The food is pretty tasty, whether you go for a classic Moussaka or a fancy fillet of sea bream, topped with smoked salmon and saffron cream, accompanied by a cheeky helping of mashed potato that would have made Bodger and indeed Badger weep. There’s a really big selection too, which is sometimes a bad omen for restaurants, but with Bistro 1 it just gives you more reasons to go back.
You’ll get a friendly, happy welcome as soon as you get in, and while it’s probably a good idea to book in advance, they’ll do all they can to get you a table fast if you just rock up with the munchies. Service is quick and professional and the food is served all together and piping hot, so none of that sitting around waiting for someone’s A.W.O.L swordfish that can sometimes make restaurants look like muppets.
The random caricature drawings on the wall are pretty witty, in a so bad it’s good sort of way, and the seating is comfortable and well spaced out, despite it’s sometime jaunty angles. As you can see from the picture above of the front of the restaurant, there’s a little space for al fresco mastication, but it’s pretty minimal, so even if it is a roasting red hot day, you might be better off inside if you’re with a bigger group than six.
Bistro 1 in Covent Garden is definitely one of the better places to eat around what is sometimes a bit of a tourist trap. It’s ever so slightly off the beaten track, but close enough to the action to make the trip well worth the tiny effort.
Bistro 1 Covent Garden restaurant review: 4.5/5