Bantof Soho’s modern European restaurant with a difference, turns one this year.
Founded in 2022, Bantof has pursued its mission of bringing creativity to the forefront of its guest experience through art and dishes.
Bantof’s walls are decorated with the ever changing pieces of art, which are thoughtfully curated and updated by the in-house team regularly. The art pieces come from world’s most promising rising stars, as well as established names.
The pieces are available to be admired while guests are dining or sipping a cocktail as well as available for purchase. Just like the art the dishes are also made to suit a diverse clientele. It’s Mediterranean cuisine, but with some modern touches.
After making our way to the first floor we decided to settle in the terrace for dinner. It was a warm evening, a rarity this summer so the terrace was exactly what we wished for.
It’s quite small and intimate but idyllic, with plenty of cushioned seating, sunshine and a live plant wall all hidden away in a quiet courtyard.
So unless you actually visit you wouldn’t know it’s there. I didn’t until we saw it. Quiet and peaceful was exactly how our dinner started.
The terrace was almost private, with just two diners and us on the opposite side. The service started off extremely attentive with our waitress promptly taking dish orders and making drink recommendations.
I went for an intense lemon Australian Riesling, and a Straight Outta Old Compton St for my guest with pisco, passion fruit and ice cream. I’m rather surprised he’s ordering an ice cream based cocktail for his starter. As predicted, it arrived looking and tasting a little bit like a milkshake but slightly less creamy and with sour undertones.
The starter was my favourite dish that evening – sea bream avocado tartare circle, decorated with smoked almonds and real flowers.
Just like the live plant wall in front of me the tartare is green, light and very lively with just the right balance of all the ingredients. And with almonds adding a creative crunch.
My guest’s beef carpaccio was also pleasingly topped with celery leaves, parmesan dressing and capers for a salty finish. We scooped the last pieces of our starter plates and as I tuned to thank our waitress for clearing the plates we noticed how busy the venue had become.
The terrace was now to full capacity with more people arriving into the main dining area. The ambience quite quickly turned from relaxing to even a little frantic, at least for our waitress. It seemed the poor lady was the only one covering the full area.
Nevertheless we got our mains without delay. Sirloin with mushroom sauce and lamb chops for my guests.
I actually wanted lamb chops for myself, but my guest doesn’t normally like mushroom nor sirloin cuts because of the usual fat content.
Except for this one, it was a very good steak with little fat and no fat rim, slightly disappointing for me because I’m actually the opposite and do appreciate a bit of beef fat.
The peppercorn mushroom sauce compensated for my dilema though with pieces of deep fried maitake a great discovery. In fact I thought it was artichoke when the dish arrived.
It was a very well put together dish, differing from the traditional steak picture since it comes on a bed of sauce with proper slices of mushrooms.
It could benefit with slightly less salt though, I think the chef over di it in that respect. Similarly with my guest’s dish the chops were very tender and complimented well with zesty herbal pesto, rainbow carrots and sweetness of the carrot mash, but overall a tad bit salty too.
By the time we finished our mains the struggle of our waitress increased. A few guests next to us chased their drinks order and so did we.
My cafe latte arrived rather impolitely late after my guest finished his dessert. I lingered with mine since I enjoy the bittersweet coffee aroma with the sweetness of the dessert. We both had a lemon meringue cheesecake.
No complaints there, it was zesty fresh with delicate sweetness. In fact I wouldn’t object if it was a larger piece or with more meringue on top.
In conclusion, the venue is not flawless yet, but it has potential with it’s great location offering fairly priced dishes (28 for steak and 26 for lamb chops), the green terrace and well spaced tables for a tranquil dine away from the usual Soho vibe.
Bantof, 31 Great Windmill St, London W1D 7LW