*Update: Bubba Gump has closed down
When you walk past Piccadilly Circus, it’s impossible to miss Bubba Gump. Even if you haven’t been paying attention to it, you surely must have somewhat noticed all its Forrest Gump-themed retail products on the ground floor. Whilst it seemingly looks like a merchandise shop, if you pop upstairs, it is actually a Forrest Gump-themed restaurant called Bubba Gump.
Bubba Gump first started out in California and expanded to numerous locations not just across the US but all over the world today. Apart from the UK and the US, they have international branches in Cancun, Doha, Hong Kong (it’s at Victoria Peak and have amazing views), Hawaii, Japan, etc. It specialises in shrimp dishes but, of course, also offers a range of other dishes.
Bubba Gump: A Forrest Gump Theme Restaurant
The restaurant has a very adorable and lively setting. It’s very family-friendly, casual and fun. The venue is pretty massive too. Each table has a ‘Stop’ and ‘Go’ sign, and it’s basically a recreation of the movie scene in Forrest Gump. You flip the sign from ‘go’ to ‘stop’ when you are ready to order or need anything from the waiters. The fun doesn’t stop there, the drinks menu comes on a ping-pong bat! If you’re looking for somewhere fun and entertaining for kids, this is the place to be. A separate kids menu is available.
To start, we ordered some Calamari, which came served in a well-presented paper cone. The squid rings were nicely battered and deep-fried to a beautiful golden colour. There was more than just calamari in the cone. Served together with the calamari, there were also deep-fried bell peppers and pepperonicinis.
The batter itself was well seasoned and the lightly dusted cajun spices on top added to the flavour. There was a slight greasy taste to the calamari but nothing too overly oily. The portion was relatively big, in my opinion, and would be ideal to share among a table of friends. In terms of sauces, it came with a classic tartare sauce and their seafood cocktail sauce. They were nothing particularly impressive though. I personally preferred the seafood cocktail sauce more because of the combination of sweetness & tangy flavours form the blend of ketchup & Tobasco.
“I’m Stuffed!” Shrimp (£20.95)
There were a lot of fried food on the menu and I was very glad to have found a rice dish on Bubba Gump’s menu. The “I’m Stuffed!” Shrimp consists of large shrimps with a crab stuffing, topped with Jack Cheese and baked in garlic butter. These stuffed shrimps were then served with Jasmine rice and garlic bread.
I really enjoyed this dish. The seafood quality was decent enough for its price. The shrimp was overall still juicy, not overcooked and had an al dente texture. Very often stuffed seafood dishes are really just a big ball of floury mixture, but you can taste that there’s a mix of real crab meat here, which was a delightful compliment to the natural saltiness of the shrimp.
In my opinion, the rice was a bit damp but it was really fragrant and tasted really nice with the garlic & lemon butter. The garlic butter sauce was rich but was balanced out by the acidity of the lemon at the same time. The sauce really elevated the crab meat in particular and simply added another layer of texture and flavour to the dish.
Forrest’s Seafood Feast (£22.50)
Then my friend had The Forrest’s Seafood Feast, which is apparently voted as the number 1 guest favourite at Bubba Gump. It’s basically like a mixed fried seafood platter, consisting of hand-breaded southern fried shrimp, seafood hush pups, and fish & chips. They were all served over a bed of chips in their individual paper cones and also come served with coleslaw and dipping sauces.
The golden colour over each fried food was alluring, to say the least. Starting with the southern fried shrimp, unfortunately, I didn’t find them particularly impressive. Whilst I have enjoyed the crab meat in the stuffed shrimp dish mentioned above, these more more floury to taste and lacked that distinct savoury shrimp flavour. The fish & chips, on the other had, had better flavourings and was more enjoyable.
All of the three main seafoods, the seafood hush pups were my favourite. In a nutshell, they are a mix of shrimp, fish and golden corn, deep-fried till crispy & golden and served with Remoulade sauce. The combination certainly made a pretty interesting flavour and texture.
As for the chips, they were reasonably nicely seasoned and, again, mildly dusted with cajun spice. They were generally crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. All in all, this Forrest Seafood Feast was certainly quite a feast. It may just seemed like three small cones of fried food but when you add them altogether, the portions were not small at all and would be perfect for sharing.
Restaurant Review Summary
All in all, it had been a decent meal at Bubba Gump. The food was okay but it’s more about the atmosphere and vibe at this restaurant. Ultimately, Bubba Gump is a gimmicky place. But as far a gimmicky restaurants go, it’s not too bad and we enjoyed the fun ambience of the place. It is also very family-friendly and kids would certainly enjoy the fun & casual atmosphere.
All meats, except pork dishes, are halal at Bubba Gump.
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus