Kebab Queen, Covent Garden: restaurant review

Maison Bab's restaurant-within-a-restaurant Kebab Queen pays homage to the rise and rise of the humble 'bab – to mouthwatering effect

What's the draw:

It all started with Le Bab, Berber & Q and more, who took inspiration from the Middle East and gave London's 'babs the attention they deserve. A few years later, Le Bab gave birth to Maison Bab. And now, nine months later, Maison Bab's had a baby (a 'babby?) of its own: Kebab Queen, a restaurant-within-a-restaurant accessed by a secret door in the kitchen. Except this baby's come out swinging, taking the kebab and turning it on its head. With pink neon lighting and blue shell-shaped bar stools, it looks like a millennial's brain has thrown up all over the place. And that's kind of fitting, because this is London's dining scene at its cutting edge, taking a food that was previously under-appreciated and polishing it till it shines, with a forward-thinking attitude to flavours, ingredients and even the way it's served. Did we mention the counter is made out of a special material that you eat off directly, no plates and no cutlery? Because there's that, too.

What to eat:

Veggies and vegans look away now, because this tasting menu is meaty messiness from start to finish. If the warm up is a mouthful of delicate Ibérico secreto pork crusted with crunchy roasted couscous, kick off is a higher-welfare foie gras 'kebabito', served on a blini-like buttermilk flatbread and tiny little potato chips, golden raisins and pickled onions: this is when you know things are getting serious. Up next, a perfect circle of cabbage leaf (don't worry, the rest doesn't go to waste) is laid in front of you and charred using something that looks like a Victorian iron. On top goes monkfish and its liver, crispy chicken skin and a generous amount of fresh red chilli, all to roll up and dip in different sauces displayed in little dollops to the side of your, er, eating area. Then there's the döner risotto. It's got sour sumac onions, pickled cucumber, garlic and chilli sauce – a play on classic kebab flavours – but it's also got lamb jus risotto (you're allowed a spoon for this one) and is topped shavings of cured lamb's tongue – so it's not really a kebab at all. In fact, none of these, nor the dishes that follow, are, but that doesn't bother us in the slightest.

What to drink:

The tasting flight, obviously – in for a penny, in for (a few more) pounds. Everything is brilliantly paired, and highlights include: a creamy, gorgonzola-esque natural orange semillon viognier blend produced by trendy winemaker Alpha Box & Dice, the perfect foil to richness of the döner risotto; the impossible-to-pair monkfish shish went instead with London Beer Factory's Hazy Daze session IPA; and the dessert of milk buns with caramelised cream and crème fraiche sorbet became even more decadent with a Grey Goose cream soda. From 'babs to booze, prepare to have your tiny mind blown.

Six-course tasting menu, £60; drinks flight, £40. 4 Mercer Walk, Covent Garden, WC2H 9FA;