Our Top Picks for Food in W2
We have been happily calling W2 home now for four years. And while it might not be quite as buzzing as the hipster scenes East of London, we are are not shy to admit that the leafier, quieter streets of the West are definitely our favourites. Paddington might not have drip coffee served by bearded baristas on every corner, or kimchi being doled out from food trucks, but it does have a lot to offer. We have curated a well-worn, tried and trusted list of the scrummiest eating & drinking spots in our hood, and as we are soon to be moving, I wanted to share them before we packed up our bags.
Most mornings we find our feet taking us to the famed Ottolenghi deli in Westbourne Grove. We rarely sit in, but often choose from their heavenly array of sweet treats and take them down to Hyde Park. The mochas are the best thing since sliced bread, and delightfully decadent. Our edible favourites include the pecan & chocolate cookie, muesli breakfast pots, chocolate & almond croissants and my new found favourite - chocolate halva danish. If you are in the mood for something savoury, from time to time they stock a parmesan danish (Sam’s favourite), and you cannot go wrong with picking up their sesame crusted tuna with bean salad for later on.
The route to Westbourne Grove from our little flat in Paddington also passes the not-so-secret find of Granger & Co. There is easily a line around the block from 9 in the morning so be sure to be up early if you want a table without the queue. An Australian café, smashed avocado on toast and caramel-drizzled banana fritters adorn the menu . Try to make room for both. And their smoothies.
Nearer to us is Beany Green, another Antipodean joint with fruit-and-honey loaded muesli (my pick), and breakfast burritos (Sam’s pick). Further afield, we have strolled across Hyde Park several times to get our morning fix at Fernandez & Wells. The Portuguese tarts, chorizo-filled ciabatta and rose-water flavoured cakes are well worth the effort, although the service has often been tryingly slow.
We have been spoilt for dinner options. A recent find - and new favourite - is Kateh near Warwick Avenue. A persian gem tucked away from the main road, it is the favourite of Alexandra Shulman, Editor of Vogue UK. Be sure to start with the Mast-O-Musir (thickened yoghurt), and you cannot go wrong with their lamb atop saffron rice.
For top-notch British cuisine, look no further than The Mall Tavern in Notting Hill. This one holds a special place in our hearts as it was the first meal we shared after I moved to London putting an end to two years of long distance. You can get pork crackling as a starter (!) and the bone marrow pie still has Sam salivating after all these years.
If none of the above has yet got you salivating, we have a few other picks which might tempt you. Other spots include the famous, but pricey, Pearl Liang for proper Chinese cuisine. We fell in love with Taqueria when we first moved here, for its authentic Mexican fare. It has recently undergone a do-up though, and has slightly lost its mantle in our books as the dishes have grown smaller but more expensive. Crazy Homies is now our new favourite Mexican, and is well worth a visit. Pizza East can be found around the corner in Ladbroke Grove - all of it is delicious. To dazzle out-of-town visitors, we have headed to the Michelin starred Kitchen W8 in Kensington. We had our engagement dinner there a few years ago now, and they do an excellent and well-priced Sunday lunch.
The Mitre, without a doubt, has been our champion. Whether it is an after-work cider in the sunshine, a platter of miniature pies with gravy in the wintertime or fries and a pint to watch the rugby, it has never failed us. If you do find yourself out in W2, or in the north parts of Hyde Park, re-route and enjoy the detour to our favourite pub in London. It is one we will be making a trip to in future.
With Love, Kate