Welcome to west London. If it’s hospitable, reasonably priced restaurants you’re looking for, then you’ll like it here. These in particular are as much a reason for visiting as they are favourite hidey-holes among the locals.
Situated in a quieter part of Kensington, San Pietro is a seafood-focused Italian restaurant that’s very popular with its neighbours. Expect classic dishes like zuppa di pesce, spaghetti alle vongole, and simply grilled sea bass.
The nose-to-tail movement has serious wind under its sails right now, but Hereford Road have been flying the whole animal flag since 2007. Whether you’re a St. John devotee or simply have a taste for robust British cooking, there’s much to set you up here – calf’s liver with sage and bacon, herring roe on toast, treacle tart, and more.
Vietnamese food comes in all sorts of guises. For MAM, it’s (mostly) about barbecued skewers cooked on a robata grill and served with fresh herbs, pickles, and rice paper wrappers. The dipping sauce – made in-house with shrimp paste and pineapple – is pungent, spicy, and totally addictive.
Part of the Charlotte’s Group, this Chiswick bistro has a Brit-ish approach to its food. Bread, cordials, ice-creams and everything in between, where practical and possible, are made in-house. Lunch is a steal at £16.95 for two courses.
Indian cuisine is in fine form in west London. And if you’re ever in any doubt as to why, book a table at Patri. The restaurant evokes facets of the curry house model that has dominated Britain for decades, only grabbed by the scruff of the neck and hauled into 2019. If you fancy trying a bit of everything, share their Railway Mix Grill or order the thali of the day.
Ok, this is Kensington High Street – known to some as Tourist Central – but having been up and running for more than 50 years, Il Portico has a community of regulars looking for no-nonsense Italian fare at its family-run trattoria. Some of the makings of, in other words, a stellar neighbourhood restaurant.
Maggie’s is every bit as homely as it sounds. Indeed, for a moment the rocking horses, enamelled buckets, and wicker baskets will have you wondering – is this Kensington or rural Yorkshire? Served off Wedgwood-like plates, expect the sort of living room comforts restaurants often overlook – fish pie, apple crumble, and so on.
Six Portland Road
With just 36 covers, Six Portland Road is certainly one of the more intimate places to eat out. The £21 three-course lunch is screamingly good value, while those pining for continental cuisines such as those of Catalonia and Tuscany will find solace here.
Featuring the best of British seas (brill, monkfish, sea bass, bream), Orasay takes its cues from the Hebridean coast. Only several months young, this place is already a hit with Notting Hill locals.
With a menu including tomato soup, Welsh rarebit, and, simply, ‘lasagne’, The Walpole dishes up what could be construed as school dinners. If, that is, school dinners were done with quality ingredients and panache. Service on Friday and Saturdays only.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.