London’s first Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. has opened, in the year Forrest Gump celebrates its 20th anniversary. Located at 13 Coventry Street, London W1D 7AB (the former site of Planet Hollywood), it’s a huge establishment that acts as a perfect shrine to all things Forrest Gump.
Originating in California, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. opened its first restaurant on Cannery Row in Monterey, CA in 1996. They have 41 restaurants primarily in tourist-oriented locations including iconic destinations such as Universal CityWalk in Orlando, FL and Hollywood, CA; Santa Monica Pier in California; Times Square in New York City; the Las Vegas Strip; Navy Pier in Chicago; New Orleans’ French Quarter, Miami Florida and San Francisco’s Pier 39. International locations include Bali, Hong Kong, Cancun and Tokyo. Now London is added to their slate and in the iconic location of the former Planet Hollywood near Piccadilly Circus, is perfectly placed for the West End crowds.
London’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. features a down-home atmosphere reminiscent of the movie’s setting in The South. There is plenty to look at during your visit. The movie plays on loop throughout the dining areas, with signs and trinkets from the movie scattered throughout. The staff even come to your table to quiz you on Gump trivia should you fancy a game.
Bubba Gump is known in the States for their seafood, making shrimp the star. We sampled a variety of food at London’s new restaurant. By far the highlight was the Coconut Shrimp, a signature dish and extremely tasty. The Hush Pups are also great, as was their fried and grilled shrimp. If you like a tipple, their drinks selection is also good, with some being served in keepsake glasses, including a bizarre light-up one that makes you feel like you are at a rave whilst you are sipping your beverage. Oddly satisfying.
With attentive and friendly staff and a really nice, unique environment, Bubba Gump is a good addition to the American eateries that have established themselves in London. As a theme restaurant, it’s really faithful to Forrest Gump and its quirky charm and it’s nice to have movie-related attractions for fans to experience. The food is good but pricey, with seafood obviously being the mainstay. There’s an extensive gift shop downstairs and even a Forrest Gump bench where fans can have a photo-opportunity.
Quite why we had to wait almost 20 years for this franchise to come over remains a mystery though and I’m not sure the public are clamouring for Forrest Gump nostalgia in quite the same way as our American friends. But it’s still nice to have in London and will hopefully usher in more food-film attractions as there’s surely a gap in the market for fodder like this.