Beach Blanket Babylon in London

May 6th, 2006, 09:25 AM
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Beach Blanket Babylon in London

Looking for an "over the top" place for a birthday lunch. Atmosphere is probably more important than the food. This was recommended to us by friends who live not far from there, and will probably join us. Any comments?

May 6th, 2006, 09:43 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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Cannot say I've ever been there, but several comments - good and bad at
willit is offline  
May 6th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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I hadn't checked london-eating out, but it made for some interesting reading. I have yet to see any place on there that doesn't get equally horrifying reviews as well as raves, so I've sort of given up on it. I personally wasn't looking at it as a comparison or substitue for Gordon Ramsey or Claridge's!

But the deciding factor may be the notice that they provide free coffee for our chauffeur! LOL

May 6th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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This turned out to be a totally different post than I anticipated! Living just across the bay from San Francisco, Beach Blanket Babylon means something entirely different to me. It, of course, is the long running revue which we have seen many times, and recently was attended by Prince Charles and his new bride.

I remember on one of our trips to London it was actually playing in Covent Garden. We weren't able to see it there, but were pleased to see that this delightful "big hats" production has crossed the pond.

Had never heard of the restaurant.
Giovanna is offline  
May 6th, 2006, 10:34 AM
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Yes, Giovanna, I'm a long time fan of BBB in SanFrancisco, which is probably what caught my eye when I saw it listed by my London friends. I also saw the short lived Vegas productin at the SAnds quite a few years ago, when the entire theatre had sand on the floor and you were invited to take off your shoes.
But the Christmas version in SF is still the best.
May 9th, 2006, 02:45 AM
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About 12 years ago it was very trendy with the Ladbroke Grove trustafarian set, but can't speak for any more recently.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
May 9th, 2006, 02:50 AM
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Neo..have you looked at
Intrepid1 is offline  
May 9th, 2006, 03:02 AM
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P.S. I just knew it as a late night bar - don't even remember knowing it did food !
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
May 9th, 2006, 03:18 AM
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I'm with you Caroline. Only know it as a bar, although I have seen tables at the back. Setting is quirky and would fit your 'over the top' description. Can't speak for the food, only the cocktails LOL. It's not a big place, however, if by 'over the top' you mean big and swanky.

For truly over the top (with awful food, but the setting sort of makes up for it) you can't beat Sarastro - it's an 'after theatre' restaurant and looks, well, like a theatre:

Great party venue. Bad food.
Kate is offline  
May 9th, 2006, 05:40 AM
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Been to Sarastro several times -- yes, that's fun, but frankly we've never thought the food was so great -- same with their Papagallo. Maybe I'm making more out of Beach Blanket Babylon from the pictures on the website than it deserves. No, I didn't mean "big and swank" by the over the top statement. I guess I just meant something bodly quirky and splashy or overly atmospheric.

Side note: How is Blue Elephant for Sunday Brunch Buffet?

May 9th, 2006, 05:41 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 35
The "real" Beach Blanket Babylon is a fabulous show/revue/musical in San Francisco which is in its 29th year. A San Francisco must-see. Shame on the restaurant for stealing the name. Or does Steve Silver own it?
fairoakschris is offline  
May 9th, 2006, 06:17 AM
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I'm not sure that Steve Silver owns the name, or that it would apply to a restaurant in another country using the name for a restaurant. Haven't you ever seen restaurants named Quo Vadis or Days of Wine and Roses, or a personal favotite, Breakfast at Tiffany's?

Here's a brief blurb from TimeOut that indicates the kind of atmosphere I was looking for -- yes, I guess camp is the word:
"This place is fabulously camp, from the palatial front doors to the faux-Roman temple fireplace in the corner. Things get even more outlandish as one passes from the modest-sized,..."
May 9th, 2006, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Neopolitan, yes, that's a pretty good visual description. It's in a lovely road too - v. smart. My friend bought a tiny one-bed flat in that road about 20 years ago when Notting Hill was a dump and she had prostitutes hanging around outside her front door. She sold it last year - made about half a million quid profit!
Kate is offline  
May 9th, 2006, 06:27 AM
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My friends who live near there who recommended it have been to a couple film industry private parties there. They are a very "artsy" couple. He did the graphics for several James Bond films from his studio in Notting Hill, and she is a "funky" fashion designer. I'm sure if they said we'd like it, we will. Was just trying to get further feedback from others who might have been there NOT for a private party.
May 9th, 2006, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I say go for it in that case. I like the bar, just never tried the food. I was there last Thrusday in fact.

Harden's rates the food pretty poorly, but then Harden's is fussy. Here's the review:
“Beautiful” Gothic décor makes this Notting Hill bar/restaurant “a real jewel” in design terms; service is totally “complacent”, though, and the food utterly beside the point.
Kate is offline  
May 9th, 2006, 07:34 AM
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Firstly, I don't do Notting Hill, anywhere that is fashionable is always flawed, it's not classic, and I remember how Notting Hill used to be. See the film Rillington Place with Dickie Attenborough, that is what Notting HIll's heritage is.

However, you're not looking to buy a place there, you want a good restaurant. I've never even heard of this place, and I live in London. It looks the sort of place (as others have observed) that one would go to for the decor, and "to be seen" rather than exceptional food. If you can travel, go to Bray and lunch at The Fat Duck where the focus is all on food, and you will get something utterly unique. More sensibly, Petrus, Menu, Gordon Ramsay Hospital Road would provid good lunchtime alternatives. Or if you want grand décor, try The Ritz for very classic cuisine (nothing exceptional, but well done traditional).

Another alternative, and I think the most closely matched in terms of décor and concept, is Sketch in Conduit St.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
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