4 Newburgh Street, Carnaby W1F 7RF www.pittabun.com
There’s been attempts to elevate the pitta bread based meal to new heights before, but Pittabun finally is the one to nail it.
The pitta breads you see on the shelves in supermarkets often have sell-by dates stretching into the next millennium. So is it any wonder so many are hard, tasteless things that resemble ancient chamois leathers?
You won’t find anything like that at Pittabun, the breads here are an absolute wonder – hand stretched and baked fresh each day.
Thick and fluffy and with a smoky char, they wrap around the various excellent fillings like grandma hugging you on your birthday, but without the smell of gin.
This new place round the back of Carnaby Street is bright, clean and full of delicious aromas – it’s definitely not your average’kebab’ place. In fact, it doesn’t do kebabs. No elephant’s leg on a spit in sight. Just a charcoal robata and grills.
You can eat at the back, we did, they give you a bleeper to let you know when the food’s ready. It’s not slow food but it’s not fast either.
And that’s a good thing.Pittabun comes from Greek Chefs/Owners Georgianna Chiliadaki, Nikos Roussos and their UK partner Andreas Labridis, the people behind two-Michelin-starred Athens restaurant Funky Gourmet and Marylebone’s contemporary Greek comfort food restaurant, OPSO.
And it shows, the Spicy Chicken Bun made with charcoaled slow cooked chicken thigh guacamole, tomatoes, onion, chilies, coriander was a real flavour bomb. The pittas hold up right to the last bite, no danger of the pitta patter of the fillings falling to the floor, as with normal pitta breads.
The chicken was succulent with a delicious breath of the grill on it. Just enough guacamole to make the filling extra moist without making it a mess to eat. Although that said it was a bit awkward eating off our knees in a space that resembled a futuristic bus shelter.
W, who is of the generation that likes this kind of food, liked it a lot. He’d gone rather crazy and with the appetite of youth had ordered the Sunday Roast Lamb Bun – charcoaled slow cooked lamb shoulder, feta, roasted peppers, fresh chips, lemon – oregano sauce.It looked good, if rather daunting, but he had no problem packing it away while making appreciative noises about the pink lamb and its charcoal kiss.
We also liked much more than we thought we would, the Dakos’ salad made with cherry tomatoes, rusks from Kithira island, capers from Kea island and a peppery barrel aged feta cheese. It was the kind of salad I often try to make at home and never get as good as this.
Marvellously mixed textures, saltiness and oil, and the olives were particularly good, not those terrible tasteless tinned things some restaurants still try to get away with. Good sourcing makes chefs’ lives so much easier.
We had some fries too, which gained from serious spicing and fragments of feta, so were unable to handle the dessert pittas.
Another time I’d really like to try the Fish & Beets Bun of panko – crusted fried cod fillet, beetroot ketchup, walnut-garlic spread, baby beet greens.
It sounds like the ultimate fish finger sandwich.Plus there’s something for those pesky veggies, too a Veggie Bun of charred iceberg lettuce, spring onion, feta, mascarpone sauce, dill.
This is ultimately a grab n go place, with minimal seating, but the pitta buns are also deliverable and it it’s almost opposite a pub, so that’s extra handy.
Overall, we liked it a lot. The buns are a bit pricey but it does reflect the clear focus on quality. If you’re out and about, definitely pop in.