Top six places to eat near Holland Park
A few weeks ago Ben blogged about the best places to eat near our Westcroft Square centre. Not to be outdone, in this week’s post Andy has a look at the best local eateries around our Holland Park Gardens centre. As much as we like the places on this list, remember that all London School students get a free lunch as part of their course.
Putting together this list was much harder than you might think. The truth is, we are spoilt for choice by the number of excellent restaurants and cafes in the Holland Park area. Choosing just five – or six in this case – was going to be very hard, so I set myself three simple rules:
a. The restaurant cannot be part of a chain, although I have made one exception as it’s my list! This means that I have chosen to ignore all of the great restaurants in the Westfield Shopping Centre and several of the establishments on Holland Park Avenue.
b. It must be within a 20 minute walk of our Holland Park Gardens centre (though most on this list are closer). It’s scientifically acknowledged that a 20 minute walk is the optimum amount of time to work up an appetite*.
c. A meal there won’t break the bank!
With this in mind, here is my list:
1. The Electric Diner, 191 Portobello Road
Serving a mix of American and French food, the first restaurant on the list is also one of the most unusual. The diner sits below the Electric House, a private members club, and next door to the Electric Cinema, meaning that once you’ve finished your cocktail and burger, you can head over to catch the latest film release. You can even get 50% off your food bill at certain times if you have a valid cinema ticket.
2. The Shed, 122 Palace Gardens Terrace
The Shed is a real family affair. Run by two brothers, they use ingredients foraged and produced by their younger brother who runs his own farm in West Sussex. There is a focus on using the whole animal (nose to tail cooking) so that nothing is wasted. If you’re looking to try modern British food matched with British wine (!), then The Shed is definitely worth a visit.
3. Mazi, 12-14 Hillgate Street
Mazi is Greek for ‘together’, and is possibly the most experimental of all the places on this list. Their ethos is simple: to offer traditional Greek classics with a modern twist. Take for example, the spinach moussaka or the rabbit stifado (stew) with pearl onion cream. Both are very recognisably Greek, but presented in an interesting and unusual way. They also have a great range of excellent, and in my opinion criminally underrated, Greek wines.
4. Chakra, 157-159 Notting Hill Gate
No London restaurant guide would be complete without an Indian restaurant, and Chakra is a real hidden gem. Voted best new restaurant at the 2012 British Curry Awards, the reviews for this place are uniformly positive. Well-presented, authentic dishes served in a comfortable dining room are a world away from your typical London curry experience.
5. Granger and Co, 175 Westbourne Grove**
Opened and run by Bill Granger, the successful TV chef who has recently relocated from Australia to West London, this is the perfect spot for a bite to eat at the weekend. If you’re going for breakfast, try one of Granger’s classics, such as the scrambled eggs or the Aussie breakfast. The lunch and dinner menu is heavily influenced by Asian cooking, but the common thread that runs through all of the food here is its simplicity and attention to detail. You can’t make reservations, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.
6. Polpo, 126-128 Notting Hill Gate
I’ve decided to include a bonus recommendation to my list as Polpo has recently opened in the area and is too good to miss. Despite being one of several Polpos in London, you don’t get the feeling that you’re eating at a chain restaurant and the atmosphere is always great. Their menu is Italian tapas with lots of simple small plates that you can share with friends. The Pizzette - mini pizzas - are wonderful, but for me the lamb and pistachio meatballs are worth a visit on their own.
I hope this post gives you some ideas and inspiration for eating out. Why not try one of these great places to eat next time you are in the area?
*There is no scientific evidence to prove this, I made it up!
**If you are a fast walker it will take you 20 minutes to get there from the school, otherwise give yourself a few extra minutes.
outdo (v) – if you outdo someone, you are more successful than they are at a particular activity
eatery (n) – a restaurant or cafe
spoilt for choice (idiom) – to have so many good possible choices that it is difficult to make a decision
chain (n) – a group of hotels, restaurants, or shops owned by the same company
optimum (adj) – the best or most favourable
work up an appetite (idiom) – to gradually become hungry
break the bank (idiom) – to be more expensive than you can afford to pay
head over to (verb+prep) – to move in the direction of
family affair (adj+n) – an activity or situation which involves several people from the same family
forage (v) – to search widely for, and cook, naturally growing food
ethos (n) – the characteristic attitude of a group of people or organisation
modern twist (adj+n) – a new way of doing something traditional
criminally underrated (adv+adj) – common collocation meaning very undervalued or not appreciated
hidden gem (adj+n) – a very special place that not many people know about
uniformly (adv) – always the same
a world away (idiom) – completely different
a bite to eat (idiom) – informal expression for a meal
the common thread (idiom) – a feature that is found throughout
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