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Bel-Air (CLOSED)

Restaurants, Global Holborn

Time Out says

An LA-inspired lunch spot on New Fetter Lane.

Please note, Bel-Air has now closed. Time Out Food editors, November 2017. 

Ask someone to pick a go-to London locale for breezy, pan-Californian cool, and the response is unlikely to be ‘the Boots Opticians end of New Fetter Lane, DUH’. But cast your eye down this steely City road, moments from the Gulf Petroleum HQ and – lo! – there it is.

Bel-Air is an attractive lunchtime takeaway spot, a second branch following the Old Street area original. Despite the naff slogan ‘Born in LA, raised in Shoreditch’ (eurgh), it’s pretty bloody great, with a broad global menu tied together with Cali-hip healthy-eating vibes. The ‘process’ is simple: pick a range of salads (half of which are vegan), top with an optional smattering of meat, fish or veg and there’s your lunch. Too summery? There’s also a decent selection of hot boxes – from coconut and pumpkin dhal, to blackened chicken or celeriac soup – for those brisker days.

On our visit, the best of the salads was a broccoli and almond slaw, with a sharp buttermilk and cottage-cheese dressing (extremely rarely do I find myself muttering ‘man, this cottage cheese is good’, so there you go), but almost as fine was a super-clean, vegan Green Ninja mix of cabbage, fennel, kale and sugar-snap peas with a peanut dressing, and a richer salad of mushrooms, orzo and herbs dubbed The Baller, humming with truffle oil. The toppings – lamb koftes and a Bombay salmon cake – were a bit superfluous, further credit to the flavour-bombs of foliage underneath.

A larger box of black-bean falafel may have been resoundingly meh, but the cumin-and-fenugreek-braised beef wat, with giant couscous was exceptional (not to mention fiery). Pollo chilli verde, plonked on coriander rice and sprinkled with blue tortilla shards, was just under-seasoned, but excellent comfort food nonetheless. Stuck for a decent lunch in the City? Not any more. Yo home, to Bel-Air!


Address: 12 New Fetter Lane
Transport: Tube: Chancery Lane
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