Recent Eats in West LondonPosted: October 31, 2011
West London–Marylebone alone–is full of such amazing food choices that you might never need to leave the neighbourhood. Fancy some chicken tikka on a Sunday night? Done. Wood-fired pizza or casual tapas? Done and done. In London, like many other cities, you can also make trips to specific areas of the city if you’re looking for certain cuisines: Notting Hill for West Indian fare, Brick Lane for Indian, Edgware Road for hookah bars and falafel.
All the restaurants I’ve listed below are places I visited recently and would return to with pleasure. These are all lovely, relaxed places for a good meal with entrées usually under £20 (sometimes well under) that should fill you up and keep you happy.
Il Baretto 43 Blandford Street (Italian Wine Bar): I went here last night, so the memory of Il Baretto, the “little bar,” is fresh in my mind. I started with a nice light Valpolicella wine, a rocket and parmesan salad, and a burrata cheese and tomato pizza. All of my food was delicious and fresh, served in the quiet, leathery lower level of the restaurant.
Photo: UK Restaurant Guide
Ed’s 19 Rupert Street, plus others (American-style Diner): I came here with some girlfriends for a chocolate malt and onion rings, and it was everything I ever wanted and more on a dreary, rainy day near Piccadilly circus. We stayed a few hours and there were no bothers to our vinyl-seated lunch. In classic diner fashion, you even get to listen to old tunes from Grease and Elvis films. Great for a nostalgia trip in one of the busiest parts of the city.
Idler Cafe 18 Westbourne Park Road (Coffee shop, Cake shop, book shop): When my friend Alex told me she was taking me to The Idler, I thought I had never heard of this place. In reality, I had heard plenty. Owned and managed by Tom Hodgkinson, The Idler Academy stocks eclectic titles on everything from history and anthropology to poetry and criticism. The selection of books on London is particularly fine. The shop functions mainly as a bookshop, but it serves a nice coffee (and the chocolate cake looked very tasty indeed).
Locando Locatelli 8 Seymour Street (High-class Italian): My Aunt and Uncle were in town from Toronto a couple of weeks ago, and we went here to celebrate their visit. It’s sort of fancy, with dreamy black club chairs, creamy white walls and convex mirrors. The fanciness matches the Italian phrases sprinkled in with your meal: a buonasera here and there. We started with prosecco, and I moved on to a beautifully made chestnut pasta dish and some fabulous homemade chocolate truffles. Apparently, Jude Law and other celebs come here sometimes. It’s sort of hidden away, so I can see why.
Pix 63 Neal Street, plus a branch in Soho (Spanish Tapas and Wine): I went here about a month ago after a long week, intending to have a bit of rosé. We stayed for three bottles and multiple tapas. We started with churros and hot chocolate (which, take note, are the only food options before 5:30) and rosé, then moved on to the tortilla española, then rosé, then croquettas, breaded olives and cheese. By the time we left, a little after 8, it was packed.
La Porte des Indes 32 Bryanston Street (Indian): An Indian restaurant with, inexplicably, a French name. Although it appears to be quite small, and is right off Oxford street, this is actually a really large, impressive restaurant. The service is great, the decor is strange (I was seated right under a giant bronze horse), and the food is tasty and hot. My mum and I ordered our standard Indian fare: potato-filled naan bread, saag paneer, vegetable samosas, eggplant curry, and some cooling yoghurt-based cucumber raita.
Portrait Restaurant Trafalgar Square (All-purpose Lunchtime Retreat): A beautiful view atop the Portrait Gallery. You can get a really good 2- or 3-course meal or just some tea and appetizers. Though I wasn’t expecting too much, my pickled herring, toast and tea were top-notch.
The Providores 109 Marylebone High Street (An Antipodean Brunch): I wrote about my desire for a good brunch house before, and at that point I hadn’t been to the Providores. Well, let me tell you that all your brunch fantasies can be satisfied at this place: wicked Eggs Florentine, sweet french toast, and fluffy cheese scones. My expectations were pretty high since I often walked by this place on Sunday mornings, and it was always very busy. I was not disappointed and, best of all, did not have to wait.
Next Stops: The French Laundry at Harrods (a pop-up version of the über-famous California original), Roganic (another pop-up, on Blandford Street), Inamo on Wardour Street (where apparently you order on tablet computers!), Soho’s Secret Tea Room (a very busy, only semi-secret tea room above Coach and Horses), and Mad Hatter Tea at Sanderson’s Hotel.