The elegant Georgian buildings in Albion Place warrant blue plaques for their grandeur alone.
Their double-height ceilings, decadent entrances and sparkling chandeliers exude both a sense of history and wealth, and the former Law Society building, at 1 Albion Place, is no exception.
So the news that it was to be turned into a down-to-earth restaurant, from a chain which spawned from a humble Sussex green grocers, didn’t seem like the most natural fit.
But Bill’s, which has grown from a family grocers into a 65-restaurant chain, has become a master of using its homely, unassuming style to create top city eateries.
On our visit to this busy new venue we wandered past the ample outdoor seating space to a warmer inside table. The grand entrance leads you through to a stunning Georgian staircase at the rear.
We were seated on the groundfloor of this two-storey venue where the high ceilings were plastered with low-hanging industrial vents and metal work, which did go against the grain a little in this classic space. The theme did seem a little bolted on in Bill’s although touches like mirrored panels on the walls, tin can wine coolers and pots of jam and other homemade Bill’s products gave a false sense of space and warmth.
Menu-wise it caters for every meal of the day, from breakfast blueberry and buttermilk pancakes or eggs Benedict to filling lunch or dinner steaks, ribs, sandwiches, salads and tasty desserts. Its early bird set menu features two courses for £9.95 or three for £11.95, with everything from mojo marinated chicken salads to pan-fried sea bass.
I opted for early bird crispy squid with lemon garlic mayonnaise before a chargrilled minute steak with garlic butter and skin-on fries. My partner went for a halloumi, hummus, lettuce, pepper and sweet chilli burger with fries.
The squid was succulent and soft, and balanced well with the zing of the mayo. The steak, however, was a garlic butter soaked delight. It was tender and full of flavour, while the fries were lightly salted and delicious.
The halloumi burger, again, was a generous portion packed with flavoursome ingredients, with the blunt heat of the dressing complimenting the halloumi and hummus nicely.
With the addition of some strawberry ice cream from the early bird menu, a ginger beer and a raspberry, watermelon and peach smoothie our bill came to £30.05.
Bill’s caters to everyone at all times of day. The mix of rustic style and homely food is a winning combination, and although it is not particularly cheap, you can guarantee you’ll leave more than satisfied.