My favourite holiday destinations are always by the sea. This isn’t because I like to go in it – God no. It’s full of vicious minibeasts, like prawns, and other people’s piss. Besides, unleashing my milk-white rolls on the ocean’s unsuspecting fauna is the kind of thing that would probably get me in trouble with Greenpeace. No, I like to be beside the sea because of all the delicious things that can be dredged out of it (like those bastard prawns, for instance).
Unfortunately, London is not by the sea, and seafood here is either mind-blowingly expensive or a bit shit. There are a few places in that elusive slither of Venn diagram between reasonably priced and good — Randall & Aubin in Soho is one – but I’ve recently discovered that Kensington Place in Notting Hill is also a pretty safe bet, especially if you plump for brunch, when two hours of bottomless prosecco can be bolted on for just £15 if you order two courses.
And it is a nice place to have brunch, with high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and fishy artwork. It is also connected to its own fishmonger’s, which I drunkenly stopped by afterwards to pick up some wild sea bass so I could make ceviche for dinner. (I subsequently stopped off via the dread portal that is Topshop in the Westfield shopping centre on the way home and nearly has to use it to carve a path through the heaving sea of short-trousered youths built like bundles of pool noodles and doused in a dangerously flammable mix of Impulse body spray and Britney Spears’ ‘Curious’ perfume. But I refrained, because that shit’s expensive.)
I digress. We only had one course – how novel! – but the food was very good. Rosie went for the fresh-as-fuck oak-smoked salmon with avocado, poached eggs, charred dill and buckwheat toast (£10.50). I, being the fabulous monster I am, had to order the soft shell crab burger (£14.50), which is a dish worth making a pilgrimage for. (NB: don’t eat breakfast.)
Soft shell crab is one of my all time favourite foods but it is, apparently, the souffle of the deep-fried crustacean world, i.e. it is very easily fucked up. Claggy batter, for instance, is often a problem. But not here. The tempura batter was light and not clogged with oil, the bun was fresh, there was surprise guacamole (!), the chilli jam had a proper little kick AND it came with chips. Bonus points for the homemade mayo.
It’s a bit of a slog for me from Stratford, but if you’re in the area – perhaps having a mooch through Portobello Market or treating yourself to a posh movie at the Electric Cinema – get yourself booked in. (And don’t forget to stop by the fishmongers on the way home. This article has everything you need to know.)
Kensington Place, 201-209 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 7LX
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in Islington and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.