Turning West: Great bars and the best restaurants in West London
West London restaurant guide: hip hangouts and great grub for those that want a trend fix without heading to Hackney.
The West boasts some of the most elegant dining in the city. Posh food might not surprise you in these leaf-dappled squares, but there's been a renaissance in West London: cool bars and restaurants now sit alongside classic sloaney hangouts.
Here's a few of the best West London restaurants and bars to whet your appetite and start the party…
Rum Kitchen, Notting Hill
Crazy Homies, Westbourne Park
Mexican fiesta in neon-lit basement from culinary empresario Tom Conran and the opposite of his grown-up pop Up New Tom’s. Amazing tacos, quesadillas and cocktails. Head to Crazy Homies Mexican lounge in Westbourne Park post-work when a quiet drink at the Elgin won’t cut it.
BOOM Burger, Portobello Road
With a vigorous nod to Notting Hill’s Caribbean heritage, BOOM Burger brings Montego Bay to Portobello. Several pop ups in the making, this great little no-frills burger shack serves up British meat with a West Indian flavour- the best Jamaican burger London can offer.
Rum Kitchen, Notting Hill
Carribbean beach shack in Notting Hill serving up plenty of jerk chicken and barrels of rum – as well as the best sweet potato fries in London. You will find no finer soft shell crab burger in London than at the Rum Kitchen. Notting Hill menu standards are high, but this homely little venue doesn’t disappoint.
Falafel King, Portobello Road
Forget those sad little cricket balls you buy at Waitrose – this really is the ‘Best Falafel in the World’, or at least West London. £5 will buy you an enormous portion at Falafel King, London. Portobello Road has its fair share of great eateries, but this famous, unpretentious institution is one of the best.
The Good Stuff
Mazi, Notting Hill
Mazi, Notting Hill
Forget dude food - Mazi is perfect for sumptuously flavourful Greek dishes, good wine, and a wonderful local atmosphere. Found on Hillgate Street, we recommend the Feta Tempura!
The Ivy Chelsea Garden, King's Road
In keeping with its well-heeled reputation, Chelsea now has its very own local branch of West End institution 'The Ivy'. There's the same inherent glamour, top quality and, annoyingly, the same unwavering popularity. Prepare to book far in advance if you want a table at sociable hours.
Maze Grill, Park Walk
Gordon Ramsey's Maze Grill has opened a second branch, this time in Park Walk. Focussing on high-quality meat and fish, in particular steaks and sushi, this beautifully set-out restaurant is expensive, but worth a trip.
More than just food: party spots and kooky spaces
Paradise by Way of Kensal Green, in Kensal Green
The Shed, Notting Hill
This family-run affair brings the rural to Notting Hillbillies. Just in case you hadn’t got the message, you can sit on barrels and bits of combine harvester while you dine. All food is sourced from the family farm and the ruddy Gladwin brothers are all about foraging, nose-to-tail cooking and getting loose at The Shed. Brunch, dinner, drinks - all the main meals of the day are taken care of in faux-rustic chic surrounds.
Buona Sera, Kings Road
If you're not afraid of heights then ascend the ladders at this kooky Chelsea eatery. Authentic Italian food is served at East London prices in Buona Sera, Kings Road. Book a table to avoid disappointment at this popular venue, where the bunk bed-style layout makes it popular for families and dates- just make sure you request a table upstairs.
Paradise by Way of Kensal Green, Kensal Green
Idris Elba DJs there and it's one of Kate Moss's favourite party spots, so ever if you're not an NW local, Paradise by Way of Kensal Green is worth a visit. The poem-inspired venue serves locally-sourced British food, but that's just the start... Music, food atmosphere are all excellent at this quintessentially London gastro-club. It’s the only GK Chesterton-themed spot we know, where you can have a delicious meal and then head upstairs to a great club-night.
Quirky bars: London’s best parties are in the West
Bart's, Chelsea Cloisters
Janet’s Bar, South Kensington
No-one does kitsch like Janet’s Bar, South Kensington. London stalwart Janet’s is an itsy-bitsy dive bar filled with cultural detritus: fairy-lights, skeletons, pink balloons, banners and clippings. Find a perch and order a pitcher– it’s open 'til 3.
Chelsea Prayer Room, Fulham
Rise above the Tatler-types in Chelsea pubs in this confessional-style drinking den, hidden above recently revamped The Goat on Fulham Road. Serving killer cocktails, Chelsea Prayer Room bar is the kind of place that (until very recently) didn’t have a website. Call ahead, booking essential.
Bart’s, Chelsea Cloisters
Clandestine Chelsea 1920s-themed bar from Wills 'n' Kate set entrepreneur Charlie Gilkes, pioneer of alternative nightlife and host of naughty parties (Bunga Bunga, Beavers…) Dust off your spats and flapper dresses for a visit to this famous Sloane Avenue Speakeasy.
The Shop, Kensal Rise
Cocktails in Jam Jars and organic bar snacks rule at this community spot. In The Shop bar, Kensal Rise, Everything is for sale – and locals are encouraged to showcase their creativity, expect some Kensal natives to be touting their cupcakey wares.