Ribs at Bubba Gump

Pictured: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co ribs.

Sarah Holt visited Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant in London to see what it could offer groups.

Closest tube: Piccadilly Circus

Nearby attractions: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, theatres, Comedy Store

Capacity: Up to 600

It was Forest Gump himself who said life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.

Unfortunately, no matter how much you might love the classic 1994 movie starring Tom Hanks, no GTO worth their salt is going to share the Forrest philosophy.

When it comes to group organising, life can’t be anything like a box of chocolates. You very much need to know what you’re going to get.

And, ironically, that’s where Bubba Gump excels. This restaurant, located near Piccadilly Circus tube station and many of London’s top theatres, has fine-tuned its groups offering, and can tailor it even further if needed.

That’s what I discovered during the restaurant’s dedicated travel trade night recently, when I got to visit the restaurant for the very first time.

First impressions of Bubba Gump are of its size. It’s a warren, which doesn’t come across from the outside, since you have to enter through quite a dinky souvenir shop.

I actually got lost leaving the event – somehow I ended up in the kitchens, but with all its passages and portals I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d somehow found myself in Narnia.

The size of the establishment means that options for group dining are flexible. Really large parties can take over the entire venue, groups of up to 150 can be accommodated privately in the Beaufort Room, which overlooks Coventry Street, and smaller parties of up to 20 can dine in The Gump House – a little room styled to look like Forest’s childhood home.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co decor

Pictured: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co decor.

On the food front, buffets, sharing platters and set group menus for experiences like pre-theatre dining are available.

Like the name suggests, there’s a lot of seafood on the menu – if you’ve not seen the movie, you’ll need to know that Bubba was Forest’s best friend and a shrimp fisherman. However, you don’t have to be a fishophile to enjoy the cuisine at Bubba Gump. There are other items on the menu that do not come from the ocean, including dishes inspired by Forest Gump’s home state of Alabama – think fried chicken, ribs, steaks and burgers.

That said, the fish is pretty good. During the travel trade night I got to sample a few things from the menu, but my favourite had to be the coconut shrimp.

Typically, this is not a dish that UK restaurants do well. I had my best coconut shrimp in Aruba, for example. But Bubba Gump has got it just right – with just the right amount of sweetness and bite.

“My favourite dish is Shrimpers Heaven,” restaurant manager Rob Bryan told me on the night, when I revealed what my favourite dish had been. “The coconut shrimp is on that.”

Drinks packages are also available for groups visiting Bubba Gump. Some groups go to the restaurant simply to have a few cocktails and canapes before going to the theatre. The hand shaken margaritas are a speciality.

Bubba Gump has also put a lot of thought into its children’s menu. Groups with families will appreciate the word searches and puzzles that each child gets in their own personal menus.

Finally, I think it’s only fitting to end this review with another Forest Gum quote, so… that’s all I have to say about that.

For more information about Bubba Gump visit www.bubbagumpshrimp.co.uk.