Review of 'Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.'

Ok, I was born in Canada and have grown up with American fast food and big chains. To be honest, living in the UK occasionally I get a craving…and ever since I first saw Bubba Gump, believe it or not, in Hong Kong, I have wanted to give it a go. I sort of miss the “Red Lobster” chain in Canada which serves, basically, deep-fried seafood (yes, they do other styles of cooking but mostly it is known for deep fried food). So, hence the craving.

Anyway, so we wanted to try a “chop shop” I had seen on Haymarket but it was closed so though, what the heck, we will try Bubba. For those unfamiliar or have forgotten, “Bubba Gump” was Forest Gump's father in the movie who owned a shrimp boat.

The restaurant is at the original Planet Hollywood location on the far corner of Trocadero as you head towards Leicester Square. On the ground floor, ominously, there is a gift shop selling “Bubba Gump”, “Forest Gump”, etc. t-shirts and what-not. We were directed up the stairs and immediately smiled with the bits of pictures and artifacts on the wood walls, all themed for Bubba Gump (and somewhat placed without a lot of detail as I saw two identical pictures side by side at one point…). We were seated at a booth beside the bar and directed to flip the licence plates on a stand on the table from “Run Forest Run” to “Stop Forest Stop” whenever we wished to order (again, a reference to the movie). The movie, of course, was playing (silently) behind the bar.

To the food. The menu was typically American with lots of pictures and “folky” descriptions of the dishes. The portions looked to be quite large (and they were) but the prices were a bit steep with most mains between £15 and £20. I ordered the “Forrest Seafood Feast” (£15.50) which was billed as the most popular dish on the menu: “Fish and chips”, “Crab Hush Puppies” and fried shrimp, served in four separate cones containing fries (chips) along with dips as well as a [too] small portion of wonderful coleslaw. It was quite tasty with the dips but it needed the dips otherwise it was quite bland. There was not a lot of seafood but a large portion of chips. My companion had the “Fried Chicken” (£13.95) which was a good portion of boneless chicken with chips - Also quite bland.

What was odd that after we ordered, a few minutes later what I ordered arrived on the table but not what my companion ordered. We shrugged and dug in…it was cold and my companion commented on this. The waitress overheard us and, not speaking very good English, asked if it was Ok. We tried to explain it was a bit cold but, to be honest, I was not that bothered and we sent her away. More oddly, a few minutes later the waitress came around and said it was for another table and took it away from us despite our having eaten half of it. Then the manager came by and apologized for the confusion. I am only wondering what the other table ended up with…probably had to wait even longer for yet another order to be prepared for them. The waitress later confided in us that this happens all the time - disorganized and confusion during the busier hours. Wow. Considering they have been open for a few months now you would think they would have this figured out.

Anyway, we did have some non-alcoholic drinks, of which there were a few on the menu (we avoided the ones intended for children with the sparkling lights in the bottom of the “take home” glass): The Secret Mango Sparkler (£3.75). Fine, it did not taste particularly like mango at all but it was quite tangy and very tasty.

After the large portions we skipped dessert.

It was Ok if you are looking for a bit of Americana-kitch but not great if you are looking for a seafood restaurant (try J Sheekey's just down the road for MUCH better). Kids will probably like it though they probably need to have been old enough to have seen the movie to really appreciate it. Perhaps adults that liked the movie?

Rating: “Average, but who wants to be average?”

Review Date: 2015-10-04


Cuisine: American/British

Address: Unit 75 Trocadero, 13 Coventry Street London, UK W1D 7AB ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Piccadilly Circus

Location: London (England) - Piccadilly Circus

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Telephone: +44 (0)203 7635 288

URL: http://www.bubbagump.com/