Restaurant review: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, London

Date Posted: 31/01/2017

Shrimply delicious – and great for groups, too. Rachel Bailey reviews the Forrest Gump-themed restaurant Bubba Gump Shrimp Co in London.

I wouldn’t have described myself as a major shrimp fan before my visit to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Seafood is rarely the first thing on my mind when sitting down to order in a restaurant – I’m more of an eat-what-you-know kind of person and tend to stick to familiar and favourite dishes like a good old roast dinner.

However, following a two course dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, I can safely say that I am now a fully-fledged shrimp fanatic. Why haven’t I been introduced to these little critters sooner?

A novelty atmosphere

First things first. If you aren’t familiar with Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, it’s important you know that the restaurant is a tribute to the 1994 film Forrest Gump that starred Tom Hanks.

I’m not saying you necessarily have to be a fan of the film to enjoy the dining experience, but if you’ve never seen it, the décor may seem a little strange.

One of many novelty signs at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Pictured: One of many novelty signs at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Fishing nets, old American memorabilia, cups and plates from the sixties, and walls adorned with plaques quoting bits of the Forrest Gump script are all over the place. So are cast photos – of Tom Hanks as Forrest, Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan and Mykelti Williamson as Bubba (the character the restaurant is partly named after).

It’s also possible you’ll be quizzed by one of the Bubba Gump Shrimp staff about your knowledge of the movie during your visit. Great if you know Forrest Gump, perhaps not so much if you haven’t seen it.

Questions like ‘What was the name of Forrest Gump’s first boat?’ and ‘What vegetables are Forrest and Jenny compared to?’ are to be expected. I shamed myself by knowing far less about the film than I thought – and I took the easy option (medium and expert trivia questions are also available).

The food: not for calorie-dodgers

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co features a menu of comfort food from the American South that reflects the film’s setting in Alabama. Shrimp is the specialty, but groups can order burgers, salads and desserts too. Crab, lobster, various fish dishes, chicken, surf and turf options, a jambalaya and Dixie-style ribs are also on the menu.

A starter of Hush Pups

Pictured: A starter of 'hush pups'.

I enjoyed a starter of calamari and ‘hush pups’ – deep-friend shrimp and fish parcels – respectively. The hush pups were delicious but came with chips – which I found a bit heavy going for a starter, especially as my main meal also came with chips. You don’t have to order a carb-heavy meal, but you certainly need to be choosy if you’re trying to dodge a high calorie intake.

Regardless, I enjoyed my starter and main meal immensely. My main meal – Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp – came with Cajun marmalade, fries and coleslaw, and was crispy, full of flavour and a great introduction to the world of shrimp. I also got to sample the Shrimp New Orleans, which consisted of a heap of tender shrimp broiled in butter and garlic and served with jasmine rice and garlic bread.

The menu overall is dotted with nods to the American deep south; food and drink names like Mama’s Southern Fried Chicken, Georgia Peach Iced Tea and Alabama Southern Punch add to the novelty feel of the restaurant.

Groups considering a visit should be mindful that this is a film-themed dining experience and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It’s got a bustling atmosphere, and almost every inch of space is covered in eye-catching decorations.

This is not a restaurant for groups after a quiet evening of fine dining. The food is delicious though, and the service was excellent during my visit.

Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp

Pictured: Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp.

Great for groups

In my opinion, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co is a great place for groups to dine. The restaurant’s location is right next to Piccadilly Circus and not far from Leicester Square. Those planning to catch a West End show before or after a meal are not far from a lot of the main theatres.

As an additional highlight, the restaurant caters for parties of all sizes. Group bookings are available for parties of seven or more people. Small groups can book out a private room, while up to 600 people can book out the whole space for a private event.

Set menus with all-inclusive pricing are available for groups, as are drinks packages and canapes.

GTOs can book a table by filling out the booking form on the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co website, or by calling 020-3763 5288.

For more information visit www.bubbagump.com.

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