The heady smell of truffle hits you as you walk through the door of Le Bun Vivant, the latest pop-up from street food favourites Le Bun in Leicester House. It’s a welcome sanctuary from the chaos that is Leicester Square and Chinatown, with grey-blue wooden paneling, throw-back memorabilia (Friends board game, anyone?) and neon branding – they describe the space as a fine diner. These guys have a loyal following, so the room was already busy when we stopped in for weekend brunch but staff were clearly in control as they welcomed us warmly.
Brunch wouldn’t be complete without cocktails, and the list includes bottomless mimosas (£20), bubblegum daiquiris and picklebacks, the latter of which, while not to everyone’s taste, is a great way to round-off the meal. But the must-order (and soon-to-be Instagram star) is a bloody mary garnished with a mini truffled cheeseburger slider – the ideal warm-up while you peruse the menu.
The menu is a mash-up of cuisines that is in part a result of owners Andy and Tim’s recent road trips through France and America, an epic 90-day pilgrimage that saw them eat in over 200 restaurants in The States alone. As much as we’d like to follow in their footsteps, the brunch menu is the next best thing. There are more traditional breakfast dishes such as eggs benedict or avocado and poached egg, but our advice is to skip these in favour of some more unique options.
What we love about Le Bun is that they take regional classics – they even name-check the city on the menu – and add their own individual twist. Everything we tried (and we tried a lot) was delicious, but absolute must-orders were confit fried chicken on waffles with truffle butter and Le Bourguignon Bun; tender pulled beef shin with a classically-flavoured bourguignon glaze, bacon salt, truffle mayo and champagne slaw – welcome acidity to cut through the richness – all stuffed into a pillowy brioche bun.
Shrimp and scallop po bun is another revelation: pan-fried shrimp and scallops with a rich bisque hollandaise, samphire and crispy shoestring fries. What will keep us coming back time after time though, is their famous confit duck bun with bernaise, champagne slaw and crunch from those fries.
Everyone I’ve run into since visiting has heard me enthuse about this menu – everything was on point. We heard rumours that they’re looking for a permanent home to open sometime this year, but until then get yourself to Leicester house as fast as you can.
Le Bun Vivant will be running until the end of May (exact date TBC) and will offer a diner menu as well. To book, call 0203 642 3339. lebun.co.uk, hotel.leicesterhouse.com.
Wed-Fri 12pm-2:30pm & 5:30pm-10pm
Sat & Sun 11:30am-4pm (Brunch) & 5:30pm-10pm
Written by Sarah Kingsbury April 2016
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