Eagle-eyed (and hungry!) residents may have spotted the re-launch of Byron High Street Kensington last week, following a stylish new revamp of this, the first restaurant in the Byron chain which opened its doors way back in 2007.
Re-opened on 1st September, the restaurant at 222 Kensington High Street takes its inspiration from its local surroundings and architecture – something of a Byron speciality as individuality is the key ingredient in all of their 52 locations. The Kensington branch now boasts a 1930s Deco-style exterior, with an interior that pays homage to European Modernism.
Come down to enjoy tasty burgers and cold craft beer whilst perched on the specially-selected vintage seating or one of the leather banquettes, surrounded by the work of illustrator Alec Doherty. His vibrant style will be familiar to Byron’s customers, given his previous work with the brand. In fact, it’s no surprise that Byron recently won a YCN (You Can Now) Illustration Award for its use of illustration – with work from including the work of Jean Jullien, Alec Doherty and others – across its branding.
Tom Byng, Byron’s founder, says:
“All our restaurants are dear to me, but our ‘Mothership’ at High Street Kensington is particularly close to my heart. When we started Byron, we wanted to make every restaurant unique, so we gave each one its own playing card. Fittingly, Kensington is the Queen of Hearts, and we’re reopening here just as we’ve completed our first Byron deck: 52 playing cards for 52 restaurants. We may have grown over the last few years but our vision has stayed the same – to serve consistently delicious proper hamburgers in beautiful, individual-designed restaurants. I couldn’t be more delighted to be celebrating where it all began in 2007.”
To celebrate the re-launch, Byron High Street Kensington will be giving away free hamburgers between Monday 7th and Wednesday 16th September to Byron Club members who sign up and choose the HSK branch as their local Byron. Membership is free – to sign up, visit www.byronhamburgers.com/burgerclub. (Offer runs all day, Monday to Wednesdays only.)
Anges de Sucre on Holland Street – the local sweetshop that was voted the best café or coffee shop in Kensington in the 2014 Timeout Loves awards – will be hosting a flower crown pop-up next weekend (Friday 14th – Sunday 16th August 2015) and is inviting people of all ages to come down!
Their Crown & Glory #CGCandyshop pop-up will be a fun and creative summer event. You’ll be able to pick out your own flowers to make fantastic, long-lasting flower crown headbands, whilst also munching on Anges de Sucre’s famous and delicious macaroons and cupcakes!
Pick your own custom faux fleurs from the sweet jars and watch the Crown & Glory gang whip up a unique floral crown, fascinator, headband or clip especially for you.
Girls and ladies of all ages can pick up a beautiful accessory for summer that will perfectly compliment their own style. But men won’t be left out – gentlemen, why not pick up a floral beard? For those with furry friends, floral dog collars can also be made!
Whatever your age or style, simply select the blooms you like best and get the C&G folks to create your own unique floral masterpiece at a special rate. Whilst they’re working their magic, why not tuck into delicious macaroons and cakes, all freshly baked in store?
The Crown & Glory pop-up is open to all ages and it’s free to explore – just turn up on any of the days! Floral accessories will cost between £10 to £35 to buy, whilst coffees, macaroons and cakes are available for under £5.
Crown & Glory Pop-Up at Anges de Sucre 9am – 7pm, Friday 14th August 2015 9.30am – 7pm, Saturday 15th August 2015 10am – 6pm, Sunday 16th August 2015
1 Holland Street
W8 4NA www.angesdesucre.com
2015 Update: Bonapeti is now live, so you can all try out their tasty and healthy, freshly prepared meals! Rather excitingly, they’ve vastly extended their delivery area which now stretches down as far as Wimbledon to Vauxhall south of the river and Cricklewood to Kentish Town north of it. Better still, they’ve introduced a special code for 40% off first orders (plus free delivery) – simply use the code BON201502. Check out www.bonapeti.com, and happy ordering!
I had the pleasure of trying out the Bonapeti food delivery service a few days ago, being treated to a full three-course meal of their freshly prepared and healthy food.
Bonapeti’s meals arrive in a smart chill box emblazoned with their logo – and opening it up as rather exciting as you see the delights of food that you’ll be eating that day. The box is well insulated, and everything arrives neatly packed so there’s no fear of your food being harmed in any way, even if it is left for you for a few hours before you come home.
Placed on top of the box I received were three cards detailing and explaining what I’d be eating – as well as instructions on how to construct each course, and the all important ingredients, allergy and nutritional information. I say ‘construct’ – if anyone’s now thinking “hang on, this is a delivery service…why am I having to cook my own meal?!” it’s nothing remotely taxing in the slightest! As meals arrive cold (so, again, they can be stored for a few hours before eating) most mains simply require a few minutes warming in the microwave, or oven if you so prefer. Side dishes and desserts simply require assembling; such as mixing in some salad dressing (no soggy salads sitting around for hours!) and topping fruit with crunchy nuts. Seriously, it took me barely minutes to get everything prepared…plus a little longer for me personally as it seemed a shame not to present it nicely!
Bonapeti’s website does suggest that their items could also easily be used to cook up your own delicacies if you so wished, which I think is a great idea – a really easy way of obtaining healthy, delicious and perhaps slightly unusual ingredients that can be readily adapted as you like.
I tried the carrot salad with pumpkin seed Dukkah; the coconut tamarind curry Laksa with marinated tofu Pasembur (essentially tofu fritters); and the chilli marinated roasted pineapple, toasted coconut, mango and papaya salad. Now, although I’m not a vegetarian I do indeed love vegetarian meals. Bonapeti’s meals had nothing missing for me, personally, because of an absence of meat – and I was (honestly) rather stuffed towards the end of dinner, not even being able to finish my dessert. However, I can easily see how easy it would have been to add in some meat or fish – perhaps prawns to Laksa, or chicken pieces to accompany the fritters – to further extend the meal.
The Laksa (I love a good laksa!) was mild with intriguing flavours and worked well with tender chunks of roasted squash. The accompanying tofu fritters came in a great spicy peanut and sweet potato sauce and were practically melt-in-the-mouth gorgeous; the bed of veggies (carrots, cucumbers) that came with them were a great crunchy contrast.
I personally ate the carrot salad as a starter – the shredded carrot was well complimented with chickpeas and pomegranate; covered with the Dukkah spice mix and tossed with a lemon dressing, the salad overall was an interesting, light yet gorgeous mix of tastes and textures.
The pineapple, mango and papaya fruit salad was the perfect end to the meal – another dish of fascinating flavours (chilli!) that really set the tastebuds alive!
As mentioned, this was indeed a very filling three-course meal. Although the starter/side dish and dessert perhaps sound on the light side, they are anything but – and the main (the Laksa with a side of tofu Pasembur) was a very generous portion indeed.
Bonapeti’s ethos of providing ‘real whole foods’ (meaning no artificial additives, preservatives or flavouring, or trans or saturated fats) made up of plant-based ingredients means their meals are healthy and wholesome. The service is great for anyone that’s looking for the ease of getting food home-delivered but wants restaurant-quality courses; wants interesting and mouthwatering items but a healthy diet. (There’s also plenty of options each day for those looking for wheat, gluten, dairy and nut-free or vegan choices.)
Bonapeti are launching in January 2015, and will be offering their delivery service to select postcodes in West London. More on Bonapeti and the team behind the company can be found at www.bonapeti.com, where you can also see a preview of the dishes they will be offering. And do also keep up to date with all their latest news from Bonapeti on Twitter and Facebook!
Restaurant booking website OpenTable – which features over 4,000 bookable restaurants – are launching a brand new gift card service, OpenTable Gifts…and they are giving away a number of cards to passers-by on Kensington High Street today, 5th December!
OpenTable Gifts is an instant gifting service that will suit everyone’s tastes, as you’re able to give the gift of a meal out. Gift givers can purchase a gift card with a set amount that can be spent at either a named restaurant, or at a restaurant of the gift receiver’s choice. OpenTable Gifts cards are accepted at top London restaurants such as SushiSamba, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Q Grill and Buddha Bar Restaurant. You can find out more information about the service and purchase a gift card at gifts.opentable.co.uk.
If you’ve dined out in the last few years, I’m sure you’ve come across and used OpenTable’s excellent restaurant booking service – I know I certainly have! OpenTable currently seat more than 15 million diners per month via online bookings across approximately 32,000 restaurants; since launching in 1998, they’ve seated over 665 million diners around the world. They also power online reservations for nearly 600 establishments, including many of the Internet’s most popular and global brands.
OpenTable helps restaurant-goers see which restaurants have available tables, select a restaurant based on verified diner reviews, menus and other helpful information, as well as easily book a reservation – and they help personalise the whole process, meaning it couldn’t be simpler for diners. Their easy-to-use mobile apps mean you can now even make reservations on the go!
Kensington of course has some very fine eateries and cafes, everything from ultra-posh (as you’d probably expect) to places that are more casual and laid-back. It’s home to many a fine pub, as well, with more and more of these turning gastro – and providing a very reasonable dining experience indeed. But the proper ‘fun’ places are rather few and far between.
But at the start of this year, along came Dirty Bones. Located at the start of Kensington Church Street, this basement bar and restaurant certainly tries to amp up the fun, styling itself as something of a dive bar. (Luckily – I love dive bars!)
The bones in the name refers to chicken, ribs and fish of course, although there’s dogs here too. Hot dogs, I mean. And, unusually, I’d always gotten the impression that Dirty Bones were far more famous for their hotdogs than their bones. (Though including ‘bones’ in the name seems to be a popular choice for restaurants in 2014.)
Early on a Tuesday evening, we descended into Dirty Bones to give it a whirl. The bar area you walk through first is supremely funk-ily decorated, with the actual restaurant area a little more muted. We were very well attended to, being asked multiple times whether we need help with the menu, or wanted any recommendations. Starting off with cocktails, with opted for a Dirty Bones Negroni, the Mutt’s Nutts (great name) and a Top Dog (…); cocktails are reasonably priced, by London standards, at around £8. My negroni was certainly well made, and the feedback from the other cocktail inbibers was positive too.
Keep with the dog theme for cocktails, we opted for three different dogs for food – one Brit Dog (with bacon, cheese and mustard), one Mexican (with pulled pork, salsa and guacamole) and an Asian (kimchi puree, wasabi mayo and crispy seaweed). And then, to round things off, three different sides – triple cooked fries, dirty fries (as the previous, but with chilli cheese and BBQ sauces on top) and a good ol’ mac ‘n’ cheese – that we wanted to share as one big pile in the middle of the table.
Oddly enough (especially for someone going to a hotdog restaurant), I’m not the biggest fan of hotdogs – but am a fan of dogs pilled high with delicious toppings. And given I’ve been on a bit of kimchi fix of late, the Asian dog was perfect for me. The actual kimchi flavour was pretty delicate and the wasabi mayo on the lighter end of the scale; the crispy seaweed gave each bite an unusual bit of texture. (I opted for the beef version – all hot dogs can be pork or beef.)
The dirty fries were insanely more-ish – their description on the menu makes them sound a bit over-the-top, but I couldn’t get enough of those bad boys. The naked version (i.e. ‘just’ triple-cooked chips) were equally tasty, and the small portion of mac ‘n’ cheese was as well. An unsual colour (more reddish than the usually cheesy yellow!), I can only assume there was some cayenne pepper or paprika in the mix somehow.
My one main gripe was the price of the beer – £4.50 for the cheapest option, and that for a 330ml can! Sure, the price of a pint is expensive in London these days but £4.50 for roughly 3/4 of a pint sure is cheeky. (Or £5.50 for Brooklyn lager…)
All in all – bar the beer pricing – it’s a reasonably priced and rather fun place for some tasty ‘junk’ food…a welcome addition to the Kensington dining scene. And bar scene too – it’s a useful place to know about for some darn good cocktails. With names to giggle about.
If you’re a little down because summer’s almost over (and the weather seems to suggest that summer’s definitely over) then don’t fear – local parenting website Kensington Mums once again have a number of exciting events lined up to ease you into Autumn!
On Thursday 18th September, from 1pm to 3pm, Kensington Mums will be hosting a Beauty Masterclass at Whole Foods Kensington – join Whole Foods’ in-house healthy eating specialist Maura and learn how to make some amazing natural products…that you’ll also be able to take home! The products you’ll be taught how to make are an apple cider vinegar toner, a ‘Green Goddess’ face mask, and a coffee & coconut body scrub. The class costs £10 and little ones are welcome – learn how to make something new (and healthy!) as well as connecting with local, like-minded mums. Booking is essential, and can be done online – places are limited, so early booking is recommended! More details here.
If you’re after something equal parts relaxing and social, there’s also the Kensington Mums and Bumps Coffee Morning taking place on Monday 22nd September from 10am to 12pm at the lovely Hotel Chocolat on Kensington High Street. For £5, you’ll receive a complimentary hot drink, be able to view a chocolate presentation by the resident chocolatier and also have an opportunity to try a small selection of chocolates. You’ll also be able to take advantage of a 10% discount on any purchases made at the cafe or shop. Tickets can be booked online – once again, book early to avoid disappointment! Children welcome; more details here.
And if you’re looking for something a little more energetic to get started with straight away, the Kensington Mums Fit Club is being held in Kensington Gardens every Saturday, 10.30am to 11.30am. This free club is hosted by actual Kensington mums Sabrina and Iram, and is open to all levels – and you can jog, run, bike or just walk during the session. More details here.
In celebration of their 50th anniversary (wow!), local favourite Benihana have a couple of very special offers for all diners at their Chelsea restaurant (and at their Piccadilly location too!) this August.
First up, there’s a £5 Beni-Platter Lunch that’s available Monday to Friday, 12pm to 3pm. That’s right – for just £5, you can enjoy a platter of prawn, chicken, beef, omelette rice, red pepper, onion, courgette and a cucumber roll with a choice of mustard, curry or Teriyaki sauce.
If you’re after a special offer for evening dining, look no further than the £50 8-course meal for two that’s available every Monday to Wednesday, 5.30pm to 10.30pm. For £50, you can each enjoy an eight-course meal which includes onion soup & Benihana salad with homemade ginger dressing to start; Teppan sushi (salmon, beef, eel); mixed tempura; prawn & vegetable appetisers; hibachi rice; chicken teriyaki; a main choice (per person) of sea bass with miso sauce or Hibachi steak with mushroom; and ice cream sponge cake as a dessert. Check out a selection of these items below!
Diners at both the Chelsea and Piccadilly restaurants can also enter a prize draw to win 5 x £100 vouchers for future Benihana visits!
Visit Benihana in August to take advantage of these offers and for all the delights of dining around a 360 degree Teppan grill with a private chef. If you’re never encountered this style of cooking and dining before – which is rather fun and theatrical (not to mention extremely tasty!) – then these special offers are the perfect time to try it out!
Many of you may well have noticed the exciting launch of City Pantry’s Summer Street-Food Festival outside of Tesco on Cromwell Road last week – and have already sampled some of the fantastic food on offer!
Exciting news reaches us that due to its first week success, the festival will be open one additional day each week. Now taking place every Wednesday to Sunday until the end of June, there will be plenty of delectable street food, family fun plus a Brazilian flavour of things, in special tribute to the World Cup.
Also on site is a Brazilian caipirinha bar and to really get into the party spirit, there’s a special 2 for 1 cocktail offer every night between 6pm and 7pm! To redeem the offer, simply follow @CityPantry on Twitter & tweet “Can’t wait to get to @citypantry #westival for cocktails at 6”.
If you’d like to delve a little deeper into the know how of cocktails, there’s also a Friday evening cocktail masterclass taking place this week (Friday 20th June), taught by head bartender and mixologist Alex Harris. To book a ticket for this week’s event, see here.
The Festival will also be hosting a number of other exciting events each week – keep up-to-date with the latest news on City Panty’s website or find them on Twitter.
Why not pop down one lunchtime or evening this week for some festival fun?
City Pantry presents A Summer Street-Food Festival from 12pm until late every Wednesday to Sunday, until 29th June 2014 Tesco Kensington Superstore
West Cromwell Road
Most of you Kensington locals will surely have taken a delivery of Feng Sushi at some point in their lives – I’m certainly no exception! From their 11-piece salmon box (which I keep all to myself and never share with anyone) to their seaweed salad, their Japanese fish and chips – I’ve certainly indulged a number of times of the years.
News reaches us that Feng Sushi have recently launched a number of takeaway options – their Grab & Go range – which is available at some of their branches including Kensington Church Street. So rather than calling up to arrange a delivery or pick-up, you can simply pop by and pick up one of their selection of sushi boxes and some of their hot mains – perfect for lunch, or perhaps to share as a snack amongst your friends or colleagues. (Unless you’re like me and you don’t “do” sharing!)
I sampled one of their sushi boxes yesterday, the salmon and avocado roll box. Ten very generously proportioned maki in brown rice made for a very filling meal although – as with so many of Feng Sushi’s options – one that’s pleasingly light too. The fish tasted extremely fresh; Feng Sushi’s salmon is sustainably sourced, as is all their fish – in this case from Loch Duart, Scotland . The heathy serving of edamame was a very welcome addition (why don’t more places include this in their sushi boxes?!) as a side snack which I had fully intended to “save for later” but unfortunately became far too more-ish for that to actually happen!
Priced at only £4.75, is a very reasonable option for a proper lunch choice that will certainly satisfy your hunger. There’s of course larger options too: the Salmon & Tuna Box featuring rolls and sashimi (£8.75 – pictured below) that’s one of their most popular boxes, or smaller items such as the soba noodle salad (£3.75). For those looking for something a little more warming – perhaps on a dreary London day – you can choose from Katsu Curry, Vegetarian Katsu Curry, Miso Salmon with Udon Noodles or the Tuna Hot Pot.
Based on my experience, I’d say that Feng Sushi’s takeaway sushi boxes easily match (actually, exceed!) any of the other takeaway options on the High Street. Their prices are very reasonable indeed, especially given the portion size and what’s included in each “box”.
I also sampled a portion of their katsu curry which, despite being just a taster size, was very nicely displayed with a snug ball of white rice, pickled ginger, katsu curry sauce and a slice of deep fried butternut squash on top. I’ve never actually tried a vegetarian katsu curry option, but the butternut squash was a very tasty option that went well together with the katsu curry sauce which was simply divine. Now that’s something I’ll certainly be coming back to.
If you’re hankering after some sushi or a hot Japanese dish today, why not pop in to Feng Sushi on Kensington Church Street and see what takeaway options they have in store?
Don’t forget that Feng Sushi have a location on Notting Hill Gate where their sushi Grab & Go options are also available.
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.