I moved to Kensal Rise nearly two years ago, from the slightly more laa-dee-daa side of the city, Chelsea. I absolutely adore Kensal Rise and the surrounding NW (or as me and my neighbour friends like to call it, NWubz) area.
Kensal Rise is a mix of eclectic food stops, boutique shops and local pubs, with one of London’s finest butchers and wine merchants. I mean, The Telegraph published an article that claimed the high street was one the hippest street in Europe, for crying out loud! And that was back in 2009! It’s independent stores help keep the community and village-like feeling alive, (no thanks to Costa that opened recently). Here are my favourite places to each and drink in Kensal Rise and the rest of the NWubz area. Innit.
Parlour Parlour is one of Kensal Rise’s hidden gems. Tucked away down a narrow side-street off the main strip, it’s home to a delicious menu of British cuisine and craft beers. It’s most famous of it’s delicious homemade bread and butter, and that’s just what you start with! Summer or winter, the back garden is cosy and heated. Go there now.
Bel and Nev A small, yet award-winning café close to the station, it’s the ultimate stop for homemade food. Go there for breakfast or pop in for a coffee and cake. Seriously delicious.
Paradise By Way of Kensal Rise This is probably what Kensal Rise is most famous for. A nightclub. But you can take it on good authority that this club, slash bar, is also a, slash restaurant. And a bloody good one at that. I’ve heard that their Sunday roasts are what they’re most famous for, but their seasonal dinner menu lists everything from smoked haddock carpaccio to slow roasted lamb shoulder. Whatever you go for, make sure you order the sticky toffee date pudding. It’s the best one I’ve had. Ever.
Graceland’s Café Kensal Rise’s second hidden gem. Graceland’s is a casual café, popular with local families at the weekend. Another homemade menu, they go heavy on the breakfasts and have a lighter menu option throughout the day. Their secret sweet spot is the tiny patio at the back of the café where you can have breakfast in the sun. Or rain as it has a cover.
Minkies Deli Minkies was the first spot I went to when I arrived in Kensal Rise. They serve a spread of delicious breakfasts, lunches and breads, all freshly made on site that day. Really friendly staff and a giant ginger bread house at Christmas time. What’s not to love?
The Chamberlayne Might be seen as just a pub from the outside, but this steakhouse has some of the best meats in London. Srsly. They also serve prawns in pint glasses and killer chips.
Rullo’s Traditional Italian cuisine in an antique setting, with a heated enclosed garden in the back.
Bawarchi Seriously delicious curry
Vicky’s A delicious, homemade, help-yourself, kinda kitchen. Vicky’s menu changes daily with something for everyone by offering superfood salad boxes to burritos to breakfasts.
The Whippet Inn The Whippet is one of my favourite pubs in the area. They serve craft beers, delicious wine, good food and welcome all neighbourhood dogs.
Ida You may have walked past Ida before but not noticed it’s there. The restaurant is in a charming, grade II listed corner shop on the cusp of Kensal Rise and Queen’s Park. It’s a very cute place, serving home-cooked Italian food.
Messapica An Italian café, deli and juice bar all in one. Done.
Paradise Unbakery A vegan café serving a mixture of raw and cooked dishes as well as tasty cakes and beautiful looking treats.
Dock Kitchen One of my favourite places in London. It’s menu is constantly changing, whilst always being delicious. The decor is awesome, thanks to one Tom Dixon, and there is a massive outside space on the canal that’s perfectly for sunny, summery meals.
Neither tried nor tested, but researched & recommended…
Sacro Cuore I don’t really eat pizza (I know, quelle horreur), but someone told me that this place gives Franco Manca a run for it’s money.
The Shop The Shop is Kensal Rise’s cool cocktail bar serving beverages in milk bottles and old jam jars. And it’s not only food and drink you can buy there – everything that isn’t nailed to the floor is for sale. So you’d best be careful you don’t drink too much and come home with the kitchen sink…..literally.
Cable co. The tiny trendy coffee bar, whose beans have been roasted all the way in East London.
L’Angolo A traditional Italian delicatessen, with everything olive oil and cheese, to pasta and taralli.
Borough Wines One of my favourite places to pick up a bottle of something delicious to either bring home to take to a friends. They seriously know their stuff, which they share by hosting in-house events. Nic naks and wine, whilst learning? Yes please!
Brooks Butchers Who the hell doesn’t love a good butchers? Well, vegans and vegetarians, I suppose, but even they’ll find something they could eat at Brooks. As well as having delicious meats and poultry to buy, they have their own little deli and fresh veg store at the back of the shop.
Verandah The perfect place if you’re looking for original greetings cards, scented candles and household bits ‘n’ bobs you didn’t know you wanted or needed.
Nooki A cool and quirky blend of clothes, accessories, bags and hats for women, that also stock brands such as Superga, Charli and Decacorn
Scarlet & Violet Fresh flowers and smells everyday.
Behesht There’s no way you’d pass this and miss it. It’s got bright neon lights outside and is even more garish on the inside. The food is pretty good too! (A post on my top places to have Persian food in London is coming soon!)
Les Douceurs de la Tentation This little French bistro is like eating in someone’s dining room. The chef comes to your table to list off the menu she’s decided on making just that day, and the hostess, Estelle, is charming and welcoming. The food is fine, nothing special (I think my green beans are better), but the warmth of the staff is enough to make me go back.
Galpao A tiny, family-feel Brazilian restaurant with traditional dishes and killer caipirinhas!
Tong Kanom A café-style BYOB Thai restaurant. Decent grub, super cheap.
The Island They do serve food here, but I’ve not had any that’s why this is stuck under the ‘DRINK’ section for now. Local pub feel with a bustling outdoors in the summer months
Crazy Baker Ain’t nothing too crazy about this place, other than how delicious their cakes are. They also do wonderful and reasonably prices birthday cakes to order.
Ostuni Hands down one of my favourite restaurants in London, for it’s menu, character and charm! The Puglian menu is consistently delicious, the staff always welcoming, most of whom are Italian, which adds to the authenticity of the entire place. It’s tucked away down a mews street and is separated from the seldom passing cars by its own green garden. If you go on your birthday, the chefs behind the open kitchen will start banging their utensils on the counter and the enitre restaurant will sing happy birthday to you. Oh, and the maitre’d, Christina, has a wicked playlist. JUST GO.
Hugo’s Just further down Lonsdale road from Ostuni (above), Hugo’s is a restaurant and bar that serves a tasty British menu on old reclaimed furniture. I love the casual vibe and delicious food, and if you head down there in the summer you can pull up a pew on their terrance. Literally.
Nineteen Another great find on Lonsdale Road, Nineteen is a small café that serves delicious cakes and coffee. They also run private cook and dine evenings and private themes supper clubs.
The Alice House A gastropub with craft beer, an extensive cocktail menu, exposed brick and bare bulbs. What’s not to love?!
Bob’s Café This place is the newest kid on the block. It’s decor and ambiance is really cool – my friend said it reminded her of being at a beach café in Bali! The menu is really, really, extensive, which always makes me question the quality of the dishes given they have to produce so many different things. And I was right to question it – the food was good, but not great. But it’s priced really reasonably and I would go back again, if only to feel like I’m on an island in Indonesia.
Mr Fish The best fish ‘n’ chips in the hood
Michiko Sushino Super cool sushi joint, slash coffee bar.
Caldo Bar & Kitchen Queen’s Park’s number one tapas joint. Delicious traditional dishes for cheap. The menu changes on a weekly basis, but always includes the classics: patatas bravas, jamon and padron peppers.
Jack’s Café I can’t quite work out if Jack’s is a bar, restaurant, café or deli. Either way, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a place to eat, but if you’re looking to sit outside in the summer with a bottle of vino, then Jack’s your man.
The Salusbury Named after the road it sits on, The Salusbury is Queen’s Park’s gastro pub (which I’ve not yet eaten at), with pavement tables and it’s own deli next door.
Farmers’ Market Situated at the Salusbury Road Primary School on the weekends, the Queens Park farmers’ market is a buzzing Sunday morning haunt for the locals. Go get your free range meats and poultry, Norfolk grown vegetables and Brambletye Farm’s apples and eggs.
The Social Quirky and eclectic looking tapas bar. Their menu is pretty extensive and tasty, but could do with a bit more salt!
Neither tried nor tested, but researched & recommended…
Mezzoroma Willesden’s Mediterranean restaurant and lounge. I’m not entirely convinced about the ‘lounge’ bit.
Sushi Masa Once heralded as one of the best sushi restaurant’s in London. It used to be closed on Sunday’s because they couldn’t get fresh fish delivery, but since the owners changed recently, they are now open on Sunday. So definitely go, just maybe on a weekday!
Burger and Beer 20 taps, 300 bottles, burgers, fries & sides. Sounds like a done deal to me.