Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Eating & Drinking In...Kensington

Here's my latest piece for Flavour London magazine, an area guide to eating & drinking in Kensington.

Home to the UK’s most expensive streets, Europe’s priciest flats and many of the world’s most elite boutiques and eateries, it’s good to know you don’t need to be one of life’s super-rich or a member of the Made In Chelsea cast to eat out in Kensington. With museums, Harrods and Hyde Park on your doorstep, it’s just a matter of telling the top runners from the tourist traps.  Flavour knows the places that give some bang for your buck...

South Kensington
The heart of the borough’s dining scene, South Kensington is the gateway to a world of cuisines. Head across the road from the tube and sample the Scandi lifestyle at Madsen (, the restaurant which flew the Nordic flag way before Noma made it notoriously trendy. Norwegian style meatballs and a bottle of Danish craft ale is as hearty as it gets, whilst gravlax on rye bread is far more virtuous. Add a shot of fiery akavit or two if you feel like channeling your inner Viking. 

If Scandinavia leaves you feeling cold, there’s no shortage of Spanish sunshine down the street, with fine dining Cambio de Tercio, tapas bar Tendido Cero and sherry bar Capote Y Toros taking proud ownership of Old Brompton Road ( Whilst the first is a local institution and you can expect to queue for a table most nights, the latter is even more of a star, serving no fewer than one hundred different sherries alongside some of the best ham you’ll find this side of the Med.

Head back past the area appropriate Lambourghini shop for another slice of Europe in the form of laid back brasserie Racine (, where chef-patron Henry Harris has built up an indisputable reputation for some of the best cooked, most reliably brilliant and good value food in the capital. Très bon.

And if you’re still feeling Francaise, then a tucked away spot that’s worth knowing about is Le Metro. Nestled inside The Levin Hotel ( , the bar offers shoppers and sightseers salvation in the form of £10 for a glass of wine and  a couple of small but perfectly formed dishes. Equally good if you spent too much money in Harrods or are just patiently waiting for payday.

High Street Kensington
Around High Street Kensington, it’s not the tourists you have to watch out for, but the celebrities. Thanks to a glossy high-fashion high-street and a little movie magic courtesy of Hugh Grant and co, this area bordering Notting Hill doesn’t really do bargain. We reckon you’re best biting the bullet and spending your money on some seriously good grub rather than falling out of a club next to Prince Harry.

Chakra ( is an Indian that’s as far away from your local curry house as it’s possible to be. Adopting the Royal style of luxurious Indian cooking but adding some artisitic flair along the way, the result is rich spicing, creamy finishes, an abundance of meat and fish and some very pretty plates indeed. This is curry the Kensington way.

The global voyage continues as you wander along to Colchis ( a few streets back. This new Georgian restaurant serves up tender kebabs, stunningly oozey dumplings and some modern cocktails, alongside a selection of wines from the world’s oldest grape vines.

Gloucester Road
Head to this residential area of Kensington for some glamorous grocery shopping at renowned deli Partridges ( where you’ll find justa bout any food stuff your heart could desire. Whilst it certainly isn’t cheap, the prices are refreshingly fair for such a well-heeled part of town.

Shopping done, you may want to head to the area’s flagship restaurant Launceston Place (, which is as well known for chef Tristan Welch’s simple but precise cooking showing off the best of British produce as it is for shockingly not yet having gained a Michelin star. What’s less well known is that if you pop in for lunch you can leave without having spent too much over twenty quid, making it ridiculously good value.

Nearby L’etranger ( offers similar daytimne deals, but veers well away from the British, serving up a heady fusion of French and Japanese food. If you’re having trouble imaganing that one, think tuna tataki with shavings of foie gras and you won’t be too far off. Oh, and if you are in the market for splashing out, then the stunning wine list here will help you on your way.

Now go an infiltrate those groups of slebs and sightseers. Just don’t let all the secrets out of the bag, or you’ll never get a booking...

No comments:

Post a Comment