Named after Bill Collinson, the original branch of Bill’s opened in Lewes, East Sussex in 2001, where it rapidly became a Sussex institution. The plan was to combine an old-fashioned grocer with a mid-market deli and a café.
The first London site was in Covent Garden. Investors include Richard Caring (who owns the Ivy, amongst others), he owns the leasehold at the new Bill’s on Brewer Street. Little bit of a non-story, the site formerly used to be Zilli Green, which shut after Aldo Zilli couldn’t afford the rising rents in Soho, comparing them to Dubai.
Anyway, lets get to the good stuff. Very pleasant, relaxed antipodean, Australian vibe. Almost like Giraffe before they realised how much money they could make. I walked past it the other night; it was candlelit and looked like the perfect place for a date. Winning so far.
Living up to the greengrocer vibe, you can order hampers of food or cookbooks to take home, from your table.
For starters, I went for the bruschetta of British marzaninio tomatoes and basil, with crumbled goat’s cheese, lambs lettuce and crispy onion rings.
It arrived promptly, looked great but I wasn’t convinced about the onion rings… Good but not amazing
The highlight? Grilled halloumi, hummus, rocket, roasted pepper, sweet chilli and yoghurt in a sesame seed bun. Just what was required on a relaxing Saturday afternoon out in Soho.
However, what I’m really looking forward to is getting up in time for the Breakfast, which is only available before 12 o’clock. Download the menu here.
My advice? Wake up, get into town, enjoy the atmosphere and if you’re in time, try the breakfast. Let me know how it was!
*If you have come from the map, Bill’s is now a larger chain. Reviewed here is their Soho branch.