Located in the 5-star Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, only a stone's throw away from Kensington Palace, you'll find the award-winning Park Terrace Restaurant, a stylish place to grab a relaxing meal.
Led by Executive Head Chef Steve Munkley, the talented team here prepares a variety of seasonal dishes using fine ingredients and produce sourced from local farms and orchards to ensure the utmost quality.
The service is 'no frills without the fuss', meaning the waiter was always at hand when needed, but was by no means obtrusive. Given that the restaurant is located within a hotel, it can lack a bit of atmosphere depending on the night you visit, but is a good place to go if you want to enjoy a conversation with your dining companion.
The crisp, white linen tablecloths and the smartly dressed waiters lent a bit of formality to dinner, making it feel more like a special occasion - even though we'd arrived straight from work, early on a Tuesday evening!
During our visit, I ordered from the Bobby Moore menu, which has been created to mark the hotel's 50th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the England team winning the World Cup. This seasonal menu is based on the former England captain's favourite foods and was created by Bobby's widow Stephanie and Steve Munkley. The menu will be available until the end of the year, with a £1 donation from each dish going to the Bobby Moore Fund, a charitable fund, which is dedicated to raising money for Cancer Research UK to fund pioneering, life-saving bowel cancer research.
The Bobby Moore menu included a charcuterie platter with olives and soda bread; Gazpacho Andaluz with a toasted baguette; en-croute Scottish salmon with Jersey Royals, wilted spinach and tomato salad; and for dessert an English Strawberry Jelly Trifle with a gin and tonic sorbet.
Throughout the meal, we couldn't fault the service or the food. I really enjoyed the 'build your own' gazpacho, which came with a chilled bowl of tomato gazpacho and sides of freshly diced veggies (celery, cucumber, peppers and shallots), so you could add as much or as little as you like of each of the ingredients!
Meat lovers would go nuts for the charcuterie platter, which had a variety of meats piled high atop a wooden serving platter. The salmon en croute was also fab and had a light, flaky pastry, making it a new favourite dish. The star of the show for me, however, was the trifle, which was so fresh, so British and the perfect summer dessert.
Overall, this is a great place to go if you want a relaxed meal in a refined setting.
Park Terrace Restaurant
Royal Garden Hotel
2- 24 Kensington High Street
Having proved a resounding success in Notting Hill and Soho, the vibrant, fun-loving and heart-warming Rum Kitchen has now come to Brixton to share its fabulous Caribbean cooking and feisty rum cocktails with us.
On what is already a very buzzing street, Rum Kitchen still manages to stand out with a frontage of island orange and blue hues, giving way to an interior of lit shelves adorned with rum bottles - over 200 varieties!
A naturally sociable atmosphere is created via the the large counter bar, which is perfect for sampling the extensive selection of the Caribbean’s favourite spirit combined with a ‘theatre’ kitchen to watch the chefs at work while you nibble on salt fish fritters.
Riverside Walk in Kingston-upon-Thames is a waterside enclave of top restaurants that draws in eager diners, shoppers and theatre goers alike. It has become an area with its own identity offering al fresco summer dining right in the bustling hub of the town centre. With gorgeous views of the river and Kingston Bridge, it’s perfect for a business lunch, a family affair or a few glasses of wine at sunset.
There really is something for everyone with Riverside hosting some of the most popular eateries that have certainly earnt their stripes in the food world – Comptoir Libanais, Cau, Cote Brasserie, Busaba and Bill’s.
We were kindly invited by the team at Riverside Walk to sample some of the fayre on offer and we started at the slick and modern Cau. Renowned for its meat and Argentinian flair, alongside feisty Gin cocktails, we ate grilled chorizo, chicken wings, empanadas and pico de gallo salmon topped tortillas followed by the pièce de resistance, blushing rump and sirloin steak with spicy chimichurri to dip. They offer a ‘mid-week meat up’ which includes steak, sides, sauce and a glass of wine for £20 and even do a roast Sunday lunch!
Comptoir Libanais is a quirkier and more laid-back scene with shelves laden with trinkets, bric-a-brac and pickling jars, mismatched tables and chairs and murals adorning the walls. Its name translates to ‘Lebanese Counter,’ which is fitting as it has a real café/deli vibe.
We drank ‘Roomana’ pomegranate and ‘Toufaha’ apple home-made lemonade and ate in a mezze fashion. The hoummus and Baba Ghanuj reminded me of what they should taste like - the falafel was comforting, the harissa chicken wings were marvellously moreish, lamb koftas were spiced to perfection and we mopped it all up with fresh chewy flatbreads and hot pickled chillies. This is fresh and light summer eating at its best.
And finally to Côte Brasserie, now a mainstay of high streets all over the country, and a restaurant I’ve long relied on for a good bottle of red, garlicky calamari and a rare steak in pleasingly low lighting! This particular evening it wows me with its homemade and exceptionally light crème caramel and dark chocolate mousse paired beautifully with a sweet yet slightly crisp dessert wine.
All in all, Riverside Walk is a marvellous characterful spot full of people eating, drinking and being merry – I’ll certainly be spending some time there this summer.
Kingston Upon Thames
Escape the hustle and bustle for an afternoon treat
The Arch London is a stylish boutique hotel, which spans seven Grade II listed Georgian townhouses and two mews homes. Tucked away on a residential street near the West End, it's a great place to escape the chaos to treat yourself to afternoon tea.
My friend and I visited Arch London on a relatively quiet Sunday afternoon, which was nice as it meant we almost had the place to ourselves - meaning I had all of the benefits of having a friend round mine for tea, although let's be honest, it was an all around much more glamorous affair! Afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the hotel’s stunning Martini Library, the stylish Hunter 486 restaurant or the chic Salon de Champagne lounge, which is where we enjoyed ours - naturally.
With a name like Strut & Cluck, one would be forgiven for thinking Shoreditch’s latest establishment is yet another outpost for finger-lickin’ chicken; what with Bird, Chick & Sours; Chicken Shop and a whole host of others rearing their feathered heads in recent years, it seems to be London’s thing. But, how wrong could you be, as Strut & Cluck doesn't serve chicken but instead focuses on the humble turkey. Yes, you heard correctly. A lean, high-protein super-food, turkey is often underrated and cast aside in favour of its chicken cousin.
Founded by husband and wife duo Amir and Limor Chen, Strut & Cluck stems from their love and heritage of classic eastern Mediterranean home cooking, with a menu of healthy, free-range turkey dishes served in new and exciting ways (no Christmas dinners here) alongside delicious sides, salads and sharers.
At Strut & Cluck, the turkeys are reared in East Anglia on a drug-free diet, before being carefully selected for your plate. On arrival at the restaurant it’s marinated for 24 hours in the family herb and spice blend, slow-cooked to ensure the tenderness of the meat, then served in a variety of dishes all inspired by the founders’ Eastern Mediterranean heritage.
In stark contrast to the dark and depressing Mexican that was its predecessor, the Commercial Street space has been lightened and brightened beyond measure by Amir and Limor, with white wooden floors, pale green accents, naked lightbulbs overhead and plenty of greenery. The vibe is cosy, comfy, homely and chilled without being too informal; with lots of natural light, hanging baskets and wooden shutters, it feels like turning up at a mate’s for a casual Friday night supper round the kitchen table.
Allow yourself ample time to peruse the menu, as I guarantee it will be a difficult decision, with so many tasty options on offer. With a host of sharing dishes, smaller starters, hearty salads packed with fresh, jewel-toned ingredients and of course the main event of the big bird, everything looks incredible.
Start with some of the smokey aubergine and tahini dip with warm pitta bread and a portion of the charred cauliflower; served with the most DIVINE lemon zest infused creme fraiche, Nigella seeds and pomegranate. It was insanely moreish. Be warned though - even a quarter of the dish is a decent sized portion.
We accompanied our starter with a crunchy, juicy salad of roasted halloumi, orange and beetroot with lambs lettuce, roasted walnuts and citrus dressing. Perfect summer supper fodder.
Mains come either on the bone (such as the utterly incredible looking sticky wings, smothered with harissa, honey and rosemary and topped with roasted sesame and crispy rosemary) or bone-free, such as the house smoked pastrami and hand-pulled shawarma with dates. I plumped for the charcoal-grilled escalope (an ENORMOUS slab of meat). marinaded with za’atar - a middle eastern spice - and served with skordalia-style mash, a thick puree made with garlic.
Difficult though it was to find room for dessert, the levant milk pudding (like a panda cotta) with raspberries, rosewater treacle and pistachios was delicate and light, while the flourless valrhona chocolate mousse cake, served with candied orange peel and creme fraiche, was the finishing touch that slipped me into a food coma on the journey home. Perfection.
With such a spectacular cocktail menu, it would have been rude not to try a few. My points go to When Basil Met Ginger, a fusion of ginger and lemongrass infused gin with basil leaves and tonic water. An Affair With Sharon (sharon fruit jam and prosecco) and The Strickland Rose - gin, lemon juice, raspberries, egg white, rosewater and creme de framboise - may have somehow also found their way to our table… and to be quite frank, I would order any one of them (multiple times) again and again!
Throughout our meal the staff were knowledgeable, chatty and friendly to us newbies of Middle Eastern cuisine, with Limor even coming out to chat at one point and explain how her giant couscous - chik chak - was inspired by the way her Grandma in Tel Aviv used to make it.
If you’re after a delicious, nutritious, casual, cosy supper, Strut & Cluck needs to be on your radar. With starters and sides from £3-4 and mains from £8, it’s the perfect pit stop on your way home.
Restaurants, Bars and food/drink pop ups and reviews
There's nothing more delicious in life than indulging in a sensational meal.