It may come as a surprise to some that only one London restaurant is listed in our top 10 UK dining spots, and it isn’t some showy establishment helmed by a ‘celebrity chef’ either. It’s The Ledbury in Notting Hill. Perhaps it’s because head chef Brett Graham can still be found in the kitchen, rather than on telly, night after night, that the food there is of such a high standard? Whatever the reason, The Ledbury has done much to put Notting Hill on the world’s food map. What else is worth seeking out? We shine the spotlight on Notting Hill…
For new in town
The New Angel W2
TV chef John Burton-Race returns to the London restaurant circuit with this opening, using the same name as his Dartmouth hotel which closed in 2007. Have you been? Tell us your thoughts in this year’s survey.
New Tom’s W11
On the former site of his longstanding Tom’s Deli, Tom Conran brings this new-fit diner to Notting Hill; he’s set up shop with chef Tom Straker, alum of The Dorchester and Dinner. Please help us write the review of New Tom’s in this year’s survey.
For carnival spirit
The Rum Kitchen W11
We don’t have much feedback on this raucous little Caribbean-inspired restaurant and bar, but we hear it serves up fabulous cocktails and fiery jerk chicken. It’s laid-back look has proved so popular with the Notting Hill crowd that it has spawned a Soho outpost. Survey thoughts especially welcome.
La Taqueria W11
“Everything you could ask of a Mexican restaurant!”; thanks to its small dishes with “authentic” flavours, plus brilliant margaritas and cocktails, this snug Notting Hill hang-out “feels just like eating in a cantina in Mexico”.
For a real occasion
The Ledbury W11
“Brett Graham is a genius, whose French/Australasian fusion still dazzles”, and his “impeccable” Notting Hill fixture was again rated London’s foodie No. 1, thanks to its “enchanting” food and “silky smooth” service; can he push on for the dreaded third Michelin star, though, without succumbing to stuffiness and overpricing?
“The best Italian food anywhere… and that includes Italy!” – this “simply furnished” (and “noisy”) room, above a former Bayswater boozer, has rightly won fame for its “incredibly fresh” cooking, supplied by “entertaining” staff.
For casual dining
The Shed W8
“A brilliant new version of the old Ark”; this pint-sized, Notting Hill Gate landmark has been imaginatively re-born in “casual”, faux-“rustic” style – its “delicious, British tapas-style” dishes may be no bargain, but most reporters think they are “wonderful”, especially for a “cool brunch”.
The Dock Kitchen W10
“An extraordinary variety of cuisines delivered with great panache” wins fans for Steve Parle’s “exciting” venture, in an “urban-romantic” canalside setting in deepest Notting Hill; it does have its critics, though, who feel “it’s too eclectic to get any one thing particularly right”.
For a (sometimes very) leisurely brunch
The “best eggs Benedict in town” are the highlight attraction for fans of these chillaxed Notting Hill, Hammersmith and Maida Vale hang-outs; “after a disastrous start, W6 is much better now”.
Café 202 W11
A trendy café that’s made a name for itself locally as the most glamorous breakfast spot in the area. It’s dropped out of Harden’s in recent years, but perhaps that should change? Tell us what you think in our annual survey.
For brilliance on the Bayswater fringe
The Cow W2
“Great Guinness and oysters” headline the menu at Tom Conran’s hip Notting Hill-fringe boozer (which has a marginally grander dining room upstairs); on the downside, it’s “quite pricey for a non-booking establishment with small and slightly cramped tables”.
The Oak W2
With its superbly “cool vibe” and its “brilliant wood-fired” pizzas this former boozer has made itself quite a Notting Hill fixture – don’t miss the “funky and relaxed” bar upstairs; on an early visit, its airy new Shepherd’s Bush sibling seems a tad less “self-conscious” (but all things are relative).
For East goes West
Honest Burgers W11
“AMAZING” burgers and fries “to which the word ‘chip’ does not do justice” – the original Brixton branch of this growing small chain serves London’s No 1. burger; the queue, though, is “a total pain”
Pizza East W10
“Skinny jeans and face fur are ‘de rigueur’” at these “warehousey” hang-outs (which now include a “painfully trendy” Kentish Town branch); its “reinvention of pizza”, though, can come as a “genuine surprise” – “spot on”. They now have a Notting Hill outpost.
For something a little different
“A real eye-opening experience”; the ground floor of this former Bayswater boozer (of which the upstairs is Assaggi) is still little-known, but it offers some “very interesting” Georgian dishes, and some intriguing Georgian wines to go with them.
Portobello Star W11
Another one that’s new to Harden’s. This bijou cocktail bar has its own ‘Ginstitute’ upstairs where you can get a G&T made with Portobello Road gin and even take masterclasses in how to distill your own. Tell us your thoughts in this year’s survey.
Harden’s offers better coverage of Notting Hill than any other national guide, and we’ll be hoping to up the content even further when we publish the 2015 edition later this year. The survey is now under way, so if you think The New Angel, The Rum Kitchen, Portobello Star or 202 Café are worth their first mention, send us your reviews. If you know anyone who should be taking part in our annual survey, and who’d value a free copy of next year’s guide, please make sure they’ve registered here.
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