Although Bill’s Restaurant opened in Kensington quite a few months ago, I only paid my first visit to it last week. And although this chain of restaurants seem to have popped up all over London in the last year or so (from never having heard of them before, I’m now seeing them everywhere!), it’s also my very first visit to a Bill’s ever.
Popping in on a Friday afternoon, I was pleased to finally be able to make it down. Bill’s in Kensington occupies a space within the Kensington Arcade collection of shops (and the Underground station of course) where, most recently, Kew used to be. Upon seeing the ‘coming soon’ hoardings, I remember wondering how they’d be able to fit in a full restaurant in the space; the answer is – they’ve done it well!
Bill’s comes across as a very friendly and relaxed kind of place. On the Friday afternoon that I visited, there were people having a merry champagne lunch (it is the Christmas season!), others enjoying tea and cake, and plenty of families with small babies. We turned up wanting a light but late lunch, and Bill’s certainly fits this purpose rather well.
Sitting in one of the booths towards the back of the restaurant, we settled in and got to choosing. I opted for the marinated chicken skewers, whilst my dining companion went for the classic Bill’s hamburger. Drinks wise, we kept it simple – just some tap water (and they thankfully they brought a bottle full) and some lemonade. I was a little surprised when rather then something quite basic I received a bottle of pink lemonade and a glass with cut strawberries in it, but hey – it tasted good!
The marinated chicken skewers were artfully presently on top of a bed of strikingly orange-coloured couscous, with three warm halves of pitta bread and a small dollop of tzatziki. The chicken was tender and tasty – its topping gave just the right hint of flavour without being too overpowering. And the chicken pieces were easy to take of the skewers (is chicken flying off a skewer anyone else’s fear or just mine?). I would have liked more of the couscous, and perhaps a bit more of the tzatziki too, as both of these seemed a little light, portion-wise, in comparison to the three skewers full of chicken. The pitta bread was lovely and fluffy and a great accompaniment to the whole plate.
My companion’s burger – set in a sesame bun with salad and mayo – was equally craftfully presented on a wooden board, with a small tin pot of skinny fries on the side. The burger did the trick as far as burgers go, although it’s perhaps not quite up to par to some of the speciality burger joints that have sprung up in London. The skinny fries were ridiculously more-ish, and only just surpassed by the sweet potato fries that we chose as another side to share. By this point, we were far too stuffed to contemplate dessert, although we certainly had a good time eye-ing up the choice of cakes on the menu!
We thoroughly enjoyed our relaxed mid-afternoon meal, and I could certainly imagine coming back another time for some afternoon tea (whether the set option of sandwiches, cakes and scones, or just tea and a slice of cake) or for a lazy brunch – their breakfast choices are pretty tempting too.
A special mention must go to the friendly and helpful staff – service was quick and efficient, and always with a smile.
Bill’s is a welcome addition to the High Street, and I can certainly imagine that it will do well amongst locals and visitors alike.
125 Kensington High Street