I’m a sucker for restaurants with a signature cocktail list, so of course I had to try out Bantof in Soho. Tucked away down a charming lane just off Piccadilly Circus, this venue may be easy to miss – but you certainly don’t want to. Thanks to a Mediterranean-inspired menu from Michelin chef Asimakis Chaniotis and some exciting-sounding drinks dreamt up by SuperNacular, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one of their meals.
Walking into this destination feels like entering a cosy living room, with gorgeous golden wallpaper and intimate seating. However, the venue is deceptively large as it spans over three floors, which we found out when we were whisked upstairs to an equally beautiful dining area by the kind and welcoming hosts. The walls were covered in quirky artwork all sporting matching colour schemes, which paired with the warm lighting to create a glowing feeling to the room.
We jumped straight into their famed cocktails, and I opted for a Bamboo Blossom (£13) – an elegant sherry-based blend combining homemade pineapple cordial and a citrussy kick of bergamot. My partner decided on a Straight Outta Old Compton Street (£13), which looked and tasted like a vanilla ice cream, with a sharp alcoholic twist from the pisco. These fun beverages were a perfect start to the meal, and a real highlight of the restaurant as a whole - each item on their bespoke list is inspired by a certain celebrity, culture or area of London.
The food began with two of their sophisticated starters. The first of these was the burrata (£11), a tangy, creamy delight on a bed of colourful red and yellow heirloom tomatoes as well as basil leaves, drizzled in olive oil. Secondly, we dove into the grilled aubergine (£12), served chilled and coated in yoghurt and pomegranate seeds. This dish was made up of vibrant colours and the veg had a firm texture, which paired beautifully with the smoothness of the toppings.
As delicious as the starters were, make sure to leave room for mains as there’s some great options on the menu. Though it was a tough decision, I finally settled on the black truffle pizza (£24). The base was thick and doughy, with a generous amount of toppings, including an earthy mushroom mix, stretchy mozzarella and just the right amount of crispy rocket leaves. The accommodating kitchen team also were more than happy to swap out the bechamel for a tomato base to make the dish vegetarian. My boyfriend went for the chicken supreme (£17), served on buttery ratte potatoes and covered in a rich, creamy sauce. The meat was tender and well-seasoned, layered with sauteed green onions which added a crunchy texture to the plate.
We finished the meal by ordering another round of signature cocktails. First up was the Evoo Fizz (£13), a gorgeous savoury blend of gin, grapefruit juice, basil and olive oil. This tasted like Italy in a drink, slightly bitter and very herby with a bubbly feel. Our second choice - the Fair Mary (£12) - was recommended by the helpful waitress, as I was looking for something fruity. This was a modern twist on a classic bloody mary, providing the usual tomato flavour with a hit of sweetness.
The DesignMyNight Digest
The staff and atmosphere were extremely welcoming all night, and this pretty venue did not disappoint when it came to international eats and classy cocktails. The beautiful artwork on the walls was a nice touch for visuals, alongside well-presented dishes. But it certainly wasn’t a case of style over substance, as the sumptuous starters and hearty mains on the Bantof menu were full of flavour.
💰 The damage: £115 for two courses and drinks.
📍 The location: 31 Great Windmill Street, London W1D 7LW.
👌 Perfect for: A classy date night for cocktail lovers.
⭐ Need to know: All the signature cocktails are inspired by quirky themes.