BENUGO’S collection of cafes and restaurants can be found in some spectacular settings.
Started on the high street in London’s Clerkenwell by brothers Ben and Hugo over 20 years ago, Benugo now operate at the likes of The British Museum, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, to name but three.
Benugo stand out among eateries, and not just because of where some of them are located. There’s a refreshing independence of thought to the way they go about things, as diners can discover at Benugo Bar & Kitchen at Warwick Arts Centre.
Their home at the University of Warwick is spacious and stylish, decorated in warm earthy tones, and it even includes its own hanging indoor garden. The kitchen is also on full view to diners, which has always been something I’ve found reassuring for whatever reason.
Of course, the setting can be spectacular, but that counts for nothing if the menu disappoints. There are no such worries here. The new menu is not extensive but what it may lack in quantity it certainly makes up for in quality.
It’s always pleasing to be presented with a bottle of water for the table without having to ask. Why doesn’t everywhere do it?
We started by sharing a bowl of popcorn cauliflower served with truffle mayo. Crispy coated, tasty and light they were simply moreish.
We then opted for the sea bass chermoula, served with olives, tomatoes, capers and parmentier potatoes. A popular dish among diners on our visit and with good reason. Perfectly balanced, the North African chermoula-coated fish was delicate and sweet and beautifully cooked.
Pizzas are something of a specialty and are cooked in their own oven. While there are eight on the menu, diners can pretty much make up their own with the range of additional toppings on offer.
WE opted for the standard Ricotta – fresh spinach, red onion, ricotta, pomodoro sauce, mozzarella and a free range egg in the centre. It’s always amazed me how many pizza places fail on the basics – a decent base. They could learn from the pizza chef on our visit, who served up a thin hand-stretched base with no overcooked edges. The topping was every bit as impressive, as was the house slaw we choose to accompany it.
Those who can find room can choose from a selection of deserts, including a
very fine New York cheesecake with lemon curd, and then round off from as election of coffees and teas.
Those who fancy a drink drink can choose from a selection of wines and beers, or there’s also the cocktail menu – created by manager Tomasz, who is rightly proud of them. Just one of the examples of how Benugo do things their way.
And it would be unfair not to mention the excellent service – attentive but not obtrusive.
While the Warwick Arts Centre is first and foremost a destination for concerts, theatre and cinema, with the arrival of Benugo it is certainly now also a destination for those who love good food.
Click here for further details.
* This summer Warwick Art’s Centre are showing major blockbusters Oppenheimer, Indiana Jones, Mission Impossible and Barbie, and Benugo are serving themed cocktails to mark each screening.
And throughout August youngsters can also make their own pizza.
Children will be given chef hats, the pizza base and all the ingredients to make their own. All details can be found on the children’s menu.