Having earned a stay of execution from the site's landlord after initial redevelopment plans were met with public outcry, Gaby's Deli (run by 71-year-old Gaby Elyahou), will remain in business until at least May 2013.
Forget the unassuming façade and you’ll see why this (non-Kosher) Jewish deli, a stone’s throw from the tourist destination of Leicester Square, has become such a West End institution.
At the back are small plastic tables beneath walls plastered with theatre flyers. A counter at the front holds a selection of salads, vegetable fritters and stews. Culinary standards are variable. On our last visit we ordered a smoked salmon bagel that arrived toasted, with a generous amount of tasty fish, though we wished the accompanying salad consisted of the treats from the front counter rather than a dull coleslaw and potato salad we received.
A large falafel and salad in pitta was better, the chickpea balls crunchy and warm and covered in a vast amount of proper houmous. For dessert, a slice of lime cheesecake was nearly luminous on top, but weighty and rich, with a lovely sticky base. Fresh orange juice was a plus, as was decent coffee.
Gaby’s is an unpretentious place that's useful to know about, especially as a pre- or post-show eaterie.