UK Restaurant and Hotel Reviews

London Hotels
Family Restaurants
Press Contact

Gilgamesh - Camden NW1

Louise Elgin was overcome by transports of delight

Gilgamesh is not just Camden’s hippest new bar and restaurant, it is a milieu that juxtaposes the ultra modern with the ancient historic. Apparently it took six hundred (!) carvers six months to complete the intricate artwork that festoons this vast cavern. Set in a huge warehouse-style space complete with fully retractable windows and vaulted arc ceiling, a lavish backdrop has been created. To say this is a visually stunning assault on the senses is not an exaggeration. You enter a world of eastern opulence, with marbled pillars, enormous plant pots, bronze figures and exquisite decorative handmade furniture. Adding yet more drama to the kitsch environment is the constantly active freight train line situated behind the glass wall of the restaurant, their eerie noise creating yet more atmosphere to the fantasy style surroundings.

In the funky three sided glass bar, wooden friezes depicting ancient Babylonian historical scenes blend with yet more elaborate carving and circular style seating furnished in luxurious red and gold fabrics. High tech prisms lead to a constant rotation of lighting, so the restaurant is bathed in one of red, green or blue every few moments. This results in illuminating the stunning art work, while the low level funky music - courtesy of an onsite DJ - is carefully chosen to suit the eclectic surroundings. The entrance is accessed by escalator, and as I rose up and away from the bustle of Camden Town it was as if I had been transported into some über-trendy New York spot.

The main dining room, which must seat around 300 has the kitchen in full view behind the regal sphinx like statues that depict Gilgamesh, the ancient Babylonian king who according to legend was two thirds God and one third human and was a figure of immense power and status. This is chef Ian Pengelly’s latest venture specialising in the Pan Asian cuisine for which he is renowned.

The menu is split into several sections and offers a flavour of tastes from across the Orient. We began with a very fresh mixed sashimi platter which was pure theatre in its presentation - served over dry ice this beautifully prepared selection of raw fish included tuna, sea bass, salmon and yellow tuna topped with tobiko, a flying fish roe. We also tried some Dim Sum, amazing tender scallops, beautifully textured and flavoured were a joy to consume. Crispy squid, served in a paper bundle with a very hot chilli dipping sauce nearly blew our heads off, but we still  gave it really high marks. Our duck spring rolls, served with Hoisin sauce were subline - like eating a mini version of crispy duck pancakes.  We also tried a green tiger prawn curry, fabulously presented, but not quite up to the other dishes in terms of flavour. To drink we tried a bottle of South African oaked Chenin Blanc which was well rounded with buttery flavours, soft on the palate and perfect for the curry. Amazingly I still had plenty of room for pud and from the limited selection on offer we tried a rather sweet passion fruit rice pudding and a terrific chilled bitter jaffa cake creation which was soft and light with an attractive foamy sauce.

As the evening lengthened the music grew funkier, and I now felt, partly due to the alcohol and partly due to the heat, that I had been transported again, this time to an Ibiza club. Gilgamesh essentially offers more than just a feast for a palate; it’s a unique dining experience, one that I shall return to again to be re-captivated by its hypnotic spell.

Louise Elgin. July 2006

A three course meal with wine and water is about £60 a head.

Gilgamesh - Camden Stables Market - Chalk Farm Road - London NW1 

Tel: 020 7482 5757


UK Restaurant Reviews – The Best Of The Dine Online Restaurant Reviews 2001 - 2010

Your comments please!

Email us your suggestions, reviews, comments.

We very much want to hear your comments on restaurants you have visited, wines you have tried. Maybe you disagree with us, or perhaps you want to recommend a place we haven't yet covered. Email us at with all your suggestions, reviews, comments.

Back to Dine Online Home Page

Copyright © 2007 MidasCode Ltd

Views or opinions expressed by authors are not necessarily those of the publishers, Midascode Ltd.
While every care is taken in compiling this publication, the publishers cannot assume responsibility for any effects arising therefrom.

MidasCode Ltd
5 & 6 The Azure Suites, Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, W Sussex BN16 3DA
Tel: 01903 779538 International: +44 1903 779538 - Fax: 01903 856683 – Mobile: 07860 899235 – International +44 7860 899235

Want your Restaurant Reviewed? Send requests to

Registerd Office: Highland House, Mayflower Close, Chandlersford, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO53 4AR - Company No 05916096

Grape Seed Extract | Collecting Debt | Food Gadgets