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Bowling Bird: Hidden Gems of London – SEEN reviews

If there’s one thing about her job that SEEN really values, it’s the opportunity to go to parts of London that seem special and almost a best-kept secret. One such area is Smithfields, not far from Barbican and Blackfriars and currently undergoing huge changes as new housing appears and crossrail development ratchets up a gear. Even so, tucked away down the peaceful Cloth Fair and looking out onto a glorious churchyard and trees is a gem of a restaurant: Bowling Bird. They’ve been open for about 9 months, as co-owner Joseph Pelosi told SEEN. He runs the kitchen (with head chef Emiliano Gallegas) while John King (the other owner) runs front-of-house.

Joseph was out chatting to diners in a very friendly manner. Down-to-earth yet passionate about serving good food in elegant yet authentic surroundings (no brickwork and bare lightbulbs here, thank you), the restaurant is small, intimate, very much a neighbourhood dining room. Joseph and John have created such a welcoming ambience. What could be better in a time of austerity?

Sustainability and organic produce are at the heart of Bowling Bird’s culinary ethos, embracing freshness and seasonality. SEEN chose a lovely Exotic Mushroom Risotto with just the right amount opf ‘bite’. On Joseph’s advice, a glass of hearty red wine accompanied this, as did some delicious chargrilled broccoli and green beans with hazelnuts and a sherry vinaigrette. Joseph recommended the Crème Brûlée for dessert and also served some Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico, a heady combination. SEEN positively floated away into the night. It was, hands down, one of the best meals SEEN has had this year. it’s got everything right: good food, a warm and genuine welcome, decor that reflects the eclecticism of the owners, and its setting in a slice of old London. The area may be on the cusp of change, but SEEN bets you Bowling Bird stands the test of time.

Bowling Bird
44 Cloth Fair