We love London. You love London. And your aunt who maintains that she once saw Hugh Grant on the Metropolitan line loves London. But no matter how much you stan this glorious urban sexy cesspit, there’s no denying that other places are much better at creating a great outdoor dining experience. If you have just risen from your chair / bed / expertly-secured seat on the Central line and started shouting ‘HOW DARE YOU, MY LOCAL PUTS OLD JAM JARS OUT AS DECORATIVE ASHTRAYS IN THEIR GARDEN, HAVE SOME RESPECT’, well we hear you. But might we remind you that there are places out there where pavement terraces buzz with life and blankets and interesting stories of the 60s traded over glasses of excellent wine and cigarettes. Enter, stage right and packing burrata, Bar Crispin.
This teeny tiny all-day wine bar on Carnaby’s Kingly Street has somehow managed to transport the vivacious rain-or-shine mentality of Parisian terraces to what is effectively a hyped-up alleyway 10 metres behind a Build-A-Bear toy shop. Sidenote: we once witnessed a man in Paris bust open a wine bottle with the heel of his shoe without spilling a single drop and even that was significantly less impressive than what Bar Crispin has achieved here. Every single time we’ve swung by for a merry post-work glass of orange wine or a polite little plate of brown crab toast circa 9pm, their heated terrace has been packed full of happy, undeniably trendy people trading woeful date stories or catching up on work, entirely oblivious to whatever trash weather London is serving up on that particular day. It could be the natural wine, it could be the oysters, or it could be the oh-so powerful heaters, but there is something irresistible about Bar Crispin’s intimate terrace. Yes, even in the winter.
The little sister of a larger seasonal restaurant in Spitalfields, it is worth noting that this place does actually have some perfectly nice indoor seating too. We’re talking six high tables suitable for two, or four at a push, with stools and maybe even some significantly more comfortable banquette seating if the posture gods are rooting for you. The seasonal food won’t leave you breathlessly reminiscing about some revolutionary burrata for the next week, but you can expect a comforting small plates experience that will have one glass turning into a bottle. Butter, bread, and cheese, are the safe satisfying buzzwords that should accompany your natural wine order.
If you’re yet to jump aboard the ever-hyped metaphorical natural wine train, don’t worry. The servers here will sort you out with expert advice that always feels genuinely helpful rather than a sales pitch for a £120 bottle of something that is ‘magnifique’ for reasons relating to volcanic soil that you definitely don’t understand. Combine all of that with a terrace that feels like the ultimate grown-up al fresco dinner party, and you’ll be a Bar Crispin convert in no time.
The menu at Bar Crispin changes regularly but here’s an idea of what you can expect.
Eating oysters out on a Soho terrace? Who, me?
Yup, it’s some oysters and some very nice ones at that. As is traditional, they will make you feel sophisticated.
Neal’s Yard Cheese
It is a mistake to go to Bar Crispin and not get the cheese platter. A glorious trinity of stinky, creamy, and classic, it's a total no-brainer for catch-ups and cold cosy winter nights. FYI, it’s served with fresh Bermondsey honeycomb, fancy schmancy and totally delicious.
Once again we must thank fancy olive oil for all that she has given us. A delightful rip-and-dip plate of food when combined with their great sourdough from E5 Bakery.
Some nice delicate beef that has been slightly overpowered by sauce. Let the beef have its moment please.
Brown Crab Toast
Really just quite lovely. The kind of thing you picture yourself eating at home on a blowy Tuesday night, once you become a very famous, very celebrated Pulitzer winner. The trout roe is also a classy touch.