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Beach Blanket Babylon (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Beach Blanket Babylon in Notting Hill, London

45 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2AA
Cuisine: European Average Price: £45.00
Tel: 020 7229 2907 | Email to Beach Blanket Babylon | Transport: Notting Hill Gate | Write review

Beach Blanket Babylon Review

Best for: unique interiors; crowd watching; self-help.

Great: theatrics; indulgence; service.

I’ve been feeling distrustfully happy for a while now. This has spurred me to find ways to stimulate different emotions using methods such as listening to sad music or answering phone calls from people who upset me. Yet still I find myself back at bliss, which distresses me. I need some second-degree pain, and pronto. Fortunately, I found relief from my plateau of emotional beatitude at a Notting Hill bar and restaurant.

Beach Blanket Babylon - or BBB to those who fear long winded exhaustion - extends itself onto a street lined with idyllic boutiques, puffing out its white-stoned, white-canopied chest in imitation of those who stand inside, shoulders back, chests out, stomachs in, chins tilted upwards, eyes surveying the heavily perfumed, shiny-haired, white-toothed crowd.

Inside is a world of extravagance and extroverts. This is not a reality I’ve ever experienced. Social intercourse with the wealthy and well-to-do is something in which I’m not practiced. They’re dressed in their Gucci and their gaud; I’m decrepit to the marrow of my bones. But this is my latex protection; a skin of cheap, virtually impenetrable material, protecting my virginal virtue and preventing the socially transmitted infections of consumerism, capitalism and other ‘C’ words which indicate moral ‘crappiness’. I’m not sure it’s possible to make a portmanteau out of literati and glitterati.

Passing the thick of the theatrical, I sit next to a fire in one of the many upstairs alcove, dining areas. It casts a glow over the series of chapels, galleries, and sculleries, all joined by walkways, tunnels and bridges, each filled with pattern, candles, feathers, gilt and sculpture. The opulence extends to red velvet chairs, Greek statues, chandeliers and foliage. Is this Ancient Greece, 1920s Paris, or Skull Island?

It’s as if no real thought has gone into the design and yet the result is not totally unpleasant in its confusion. Just as the decor is contradictory, and at face value haphazard, so too are my words on how I feel about BBB. For me, this places births a painful pleasure, much like sticking your fingers in hot wax.

See, the food at BBB really is good. As is the wine. And the cocktails. And the charm and enthusiasm of the staff. The seared scallops with a cauliflower puree, confit tomato and hazelnut vinaigrette is perfection. The smoked duck, roasted butternut squash with a mustard cress and pomegranate dressing lives up to the waitress’s high recommendation. Mains of Monkfish medallion and perfectly presented Scottish beef result in empty plates and satisfied bellies.

Following chocolate marquise, pistachio ice-cream, coffees, wine, Golden mojitos and Porn Star martinis, I’m venturing over the chained bridge, descending the spiral staircase and through the specus rooms, to check the ladies. En route I overhear a girl refer to her St Tropez’d, French-manicured friend as ‘Symphony-Story’. This simple interaction sounded like a punchline. The Free Market inspired extravagant choices, cultural pastiche and slogan names - Katie Claudine Couric, Robert Rainbow Redford, Hulk Hebron Hogan – but I ask, what is wrong with tradition?

Another result of the Free Market is punishing music, which has clearly been composed for one purpose: to create envy of those who are deaf. Lucky blighters. I move from restaurant to bar, where the intoxicated crowd sways to the beats of Ladies GaGa, Marmalade and Sovereign. One girl hangs off the mountain that is her boyfriend’s bicep and giggles into her martini. Have you ever been so embarrassed for another person that you’re physically repulsed?

For this type of ‘courting’, BBB is the kind of place anti-feminists would revel in. Any complaints about the liberation of women have been addressed and rectified at BBB as the men are rich and the women are keen to invest. If you still want to shake an angry finger at those responsible for our great country’s economic downturn, I suspect you may find many a guilty ‘soul’ within the sparkling walls of BBB.

The crowd is happy, nonetheless, laughing to the point of hysteria. This laughter is either a result of their fortunate wealth or (what I’ve heard is) a reliable indicator of a happy childhood. Wikileaks shows us that most of modern life is about leading a double identity and being two-faced. The whole world acts on fraudulence. Diplomacy, even in a social sense, truly is a game of smoke and mirrors. Exiting stage left, I glance back in at the theatrical production still playing out and conclude that I never was, nor ever will be, good at acting. This probably also means I’ll never be rich. Or marry someone rich. But I’m ok with that. All this introspection has made me feel thoroughly morose again. Thank goodness for that. Problem sorted.
...read more

Customer Reviews for Beach Blanket Babylon

Average (based on 10 votes): 10 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Beach Blanket Babylon.

“If you live in London then you've got to expect a couple of overpriced nights out once in a while right? BBB is taking the p**s - the food was simply dull, it would have been really hard to put any less effort into the cooking. It was the bare minimum to be able to call it a restaurant, steak came cooked either medium-rare or medium-well which is the trades way of saying, we can't cook how you want it so we'll only even try cooking it a little or a little more. The lamb was litterally put in the oven, cooked for the required ammount of time and served. "Balsamic" vinegar was just average redwine vinegar, wine was supermarket bottom shelf, and the salads were just lettuce, tomato and onion, no dressing - i can make that myself thanks! In fact it was so incompetent that they even left half our order off the final bill - it almost made up for the disappointing experience. Really yet another proof that these sorts of fad places are great if you have money and no taste. For anyone with a bit of class, they certainly wouldn't go twice.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
[ Unknown ], London (8 years 4 months 20 days ago)

“It was a surprise from my boyfriend, and what an incredible night it was. The decor was fantastic, gin and tonic strong, service spot on, rack on lamb to die for, left the venue wanting more. I highly reccommend a visit!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Sian Mccatty, Wimbledon (10 years 1 months 23 days ago)

“I have been to BBB three times and each time it gets worse…… OK to be honest I have never recommended it to anyone so I can only blame myself for going back [there are just too many other good restaurants in London]. I went again this Saturday for some brunch with friends [thought they could not mess up brunch and I would not risk bringing a client there]. When we went in I asked the manager if they were still doing brunch and he said yes [on reflection, I think I could have asked him if he was big bird and he would probably have said yes] however it also says on the menu that on Saturday + Sunday brunch is served until 5.30 pm. When we were sitted, we were then told that as it was gone 2.30 we could not have brunch!!.....I know we should have got up and left but,,,,,anyway we ordered....and waited...and waited...and waited...we should have guessed all was not well when the guy on the next table had got up and left after 1/2 hour. In the 1 hour wait for our food we saw the waitress twice....eventually we had to say we where leaving in five minutes unless our food arrived....when it did 10 minutes later so did the same manager to tell me what I had ordered was not available [it took him an hour to tell me this].......my advice is with so many other excellent restaurants in London give this a miss....lousy service / a manager who I can only presume needs special assistant to find his way to work and food that can only be described as a let down.... ”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
david tuomey, London (11 years 1 months 25 days ago)

Show all user reviews for Beach Blanket Babylon

“Wow! This place is just too glamorous for words. It oozes coolness and style. The decor, the cocktails, the just too expensive magnums of crystal are enough to make your eyes water! Beautiful crowd too! If you go, dress up or you'll fade into the brick work and get shown up by their jewelry cabinets! Take a platinum amex too, you'll need it!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
jamie, new york (11 years 3 months 19 days ago)

“Beautiful place, but less than poor cooking skills make for average food at a more than average price. Cocktails also punchy on the price front. Shame - its the kind of place you really want to fall in love with when you walk in the door. I just felt all round deflated. Probably best to pop in for a coffee just so you can enjoy the venue - but spend the serious money elsewhere”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
KW, LONDON (11 years 4 months 5 days ago)

“You have to visit this bar! What makes this bar unique is the fact that even though it attracts a cool crowd its not pretentious in any way. The decor is amazing unlike many bars that can feel quite clinical in appearance. Whenever I have been the staff are always friendly and having eaten in the restaurant once I can say the food is lush. The portions are just right and its nice to chill out in the bar afterwards with many cocktails you wont be disappointed.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Melanie Whittaker, Highgate (11 years 4 months 17 days ago)

“Always loved Beach Blanket Babylon but since they refurbished it - must have been a couple of months ago - it's even better! Food is excellent and the design of the bar is simply gorgeous. You must try it.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
sam, london (11 years 6 months 18 days ago)

“We had booked a table for dinner and we were greeted at the door and all seemed to be the start of a fabulous night in BBB. However, after the meeting and greeting at the door it all went downhill from then on. We were served by bar staff that did not know how to smile or be pleasant in any way and although it wasn’t busy and we were obviously waiting to be served, they took forever to serve us, looked at us and walked away! I waved the bar person back to us to be served. However, once drinks were served, we enjoyed the décor in the bar and then shortly after were taken to our table. At the table, we waited ages again to be asked for our drinks order. The food ordering was slightly less problematic and we waited for our food whilst enjoying a delicious champagne cocktail. When the food arrived, it did so in dribs and drabs and was plonked on the table in front of us and one of our party had to wait ages for his food while the rest of us had ours, but only in part. I ordered moules & frites and they forgot to bring the frites (which turned out to be chunky chips)! No apology made by waiting staff for the error, just a mere ‘oh yeah’! The meal was ok, nothing to brag about unfortunately, as that would have improved the whole evening. Once we had finished our meal, the waiter came and cleared the table, not without asking us to pass the majority of the plates to him as well as cutlery – did he want us to wash up as well? This particular waiter was also incredibly rude and moody”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Sab, London (11 years 9 months 7 days ago)

“We had booked a table for dinner and we were greeted at the door and all seemed to be the start of a fabulous night in BBB. However, after the meeting and greeting at the door it all went downhill from then on. We were served by bar staff that did not know how to smile or be pleasant in any way and although it wasn’t busy and we were obviously waiting to be served, they took forever to serve us, looked at us and walked away! I waved the bar person back to us to be served. However, once drinks were served, we enjoyed the décor in the bar and then shortly after were taken to our table. At the table, we waited ages again to be asked for our drinks order. The food ordering was slightly less problematic and we waited for our food whilst enjoying a delicious champagne cocktail. When the food arrived, it did so in dribs and drabs and was plonked on the table in front of us and one of our party had to wait ages for his food while the rest of us had ours, but only in part. I ordered moules & frites and they forgot to bring the frites (which turned out to be chunky chips)! No apology made by waiting staff for the error, just a mere ‘oh yeah’! The meal was ok, nothing to brag about unfortunately, as that would have improved the whole evening. Once we had finished our meal, the waiter came and cleared the table, not without asking us to pass the majority of the plates to him as well as cutlery – did he want us to wash up as well? This particular waiter was also incredibly rude and moody”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
S, London (11 years 9 months 7 days ago)

“This is a great bar!Excellent atmosphere...with great coctails!!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Dimitris, [ Unknown ] (13 years 6 months 22 days ago)

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Additional Information

  • Cuisine Type: European
  • Average Price: £45.00
  • Dress Code: Not Specified
  • Group: (Unknown)

Beach Blanket Babylon Food & Drinks

  • Cuisine Type: European
  • Average Price: £45.00

Beach Blanket Babylon Food Menu

Gold Medalist in the Salon Culinaire 2007 Bbb’s new Head Chef, Rex Newmark has created a new menu of

Starters such as “Seared Scallops with Black Pudding and Cauliflower Puree” and “Pan Fried Quail Breast with Caramelized Commis Pear & Foie Gras”. Followed with “Roasted Pork Belly Marinated with Fennel Seeds, Sautéed Spring Greens, Creamy Mash, Buttered Apples & Cider Jus” his menu will ensure that even the most discerning palate is inspired.

Updated 20/03/2012

Item Description Price
Endive, Pear & Stilton Salad with a Balsamic Dressing & Walnuts £ 7.90
Wild Scottish Halibut Wild Scottish Halibut with Salsify Puree, Oyster Mushrooms served with Lentils & Shallot Vinaigrette £ 20.50
Lamb Rump of Lamb with Rosemary and White Bean Puree, Seasonal Baby Vegetables And Rosemary Butter £ 21.50

Beach Blanket Babylon Drinks Menu

With an extensive cocktail list eschewing minimalism in favour of the “over the top” cocktails drinks here are a luscious affair. The wine list is also customarily extensive listing among it 30 of the very best wines of the Bordeaux region from a 1961 Haut Brion to an equally impressive Mouton Rothschild of the same year. Champagnes are also equally decadent listing Krug, Moet, Veuve, Magnum Cristal to vintage Jeroboams of Dom Perignon.

Updated 18/02/2008

Item Description Price
Porn Star Martini Classic blend of Cariel Vanilla Vodka, Passion Syrup, Passion fruit Puree, Vanilla sugar & lemon juice Served with a shot of Champagne £ 10.50
Million Dollar Mojito Brown Sugar, Fresh Lime & Organic Mint with Havana Club Rum £ 9.50
Manilo Blahnic Mai Tai Light, Gold & Dark Rum, Cherry & Apricot Brandy with Pineapple £ 9.50
“Paris Hilton” Classic Cocktail Sugar lump coated in Bitters & Remy Martin XO topped with Champagne £ 11.00

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