I love living in Kensal Rise… There’s so much on your doorstep from local pubs for a Sunday roast, restaurants for date nights, bars for nights out, cafes and brunch spots, Queens Park, Portobello and Notting Hill all within walking distance. A bit further away there’s Hampstead Heath, Kensington and Hyde Park. We discovered Kensal Rise by chance five years ago and it was like we’d hit the jackpot. We put an offer in on a property that very day and haven’t looked back since. I don’t believe Kensal Rise has always been such a nice place to live, so many people have described the area as ‘up and coming’ but now I’d say it has definitely reached its destination (and the super expensive house prices would suggest that too).
In my very humble (albeit biased) opinion North West is the best. There are so many places to try in the area but here are three of my favourite places to eat and drink locally and why I like them so much
For a romantic meal or dinner with friends: Rullos. http://www.rullos.co/kensal/
Rullos opened in Kensal Rise a couple of years ago replacing an Indian restaurant. You’d never know that from the decor which is rustic with antique furniture and transports you elsewhere, namely an Italian restaurant in Italy. The food feels simple and uncomplicated but is presented nicely and is delicious. My favourites include the Aubergine Parmigiana or the Buffalo Mozzarella (wrapped in parma ham with courgettes) to start with and then for mains I love the Bolognese (an oldie but a goodie) and the Italian sausage pasta with cream and cherry tomatoes. There’s options for meat and fish dishes too but I always end up getting the pasta dishes. They offer wheat free and gluten free options too. For dessert I love the homemade tiramisu which looks a little strange but tastes amazing.
My only criticism is that on a Saturday night Rullos gets really busy and they, like many London restaurants these days, give you a time limit on your table. So booking in advance is essential and my preference would be a mid week dinner simply because it’s quieter and a bit more relaxed. But busy isn’t a bad thing, it means they are doing something right. Also, if you fancy trying the food but don’t have time to go to the restaurant itself, Rullos offer a takeaway service which also comes highly recommended.
For a few drinks (potentially before a night out in next door’s Paradise but this is optional): Parlour http://parlourkensal.com/
Parlour is bringing the stars to Kensal Rise. Well sort of anyway. It made it into the 2016 Michellin star guide and has been described as “A fun, warmly run and slightly quirky neighbourhood hangout.” I believe Parlour opened about four years ago where the old Regent used to be (which I didn’t go to but I heard you could have a bit of a crazy night there). However when Parlour opened I remember thinking that it would be closed relatively soon afterwards because location wise it’s tucked out of the way and you’ve got to walk past the hugely popular Paradise and then go down a side street to get there. It’s unassuming and you have to know where it is because you’re not likely to stumble upon it by chance. But that’s why I like it, because it’s somewhere that isn’t going to be heaving all the time and you can go there on a Saturday night and still get a table.
As mentioned above Parlour does great food from Sunday roasts to brunches, it has an all day menu from Tuesday to Sunday. I haven’t eaten there in a while but it has obviously picking up a great reputation among foodies. However I especially like it for its cocktails (Espresso Martinis and their Not-in Hill) and a chilled atmosphere in the evening. It’s a great spot for catching up and enjoying a drink (which tends to be my Saturday night preference these days now I’m in my thirties!) It tends to be busier earlier on on a Saturday evening because of its proximity to Paradise but after 9 it quietens down for a relaxed atmosphere and is a great place to go for a few drinks with loved ones or friends.
For brunch/lunch during the day: The Alice House, Queens Park http://www.thealicehouse.co.uk/food
The Alice House is one of those places which does a lot of things. You could very easily have a night out there (Phil had his 30th birthday there) or have dinner in the evening but recently I’ve been enjoying going during the day. You’ll see lots of locals in there with their laptops and it’s a nice atmosphere to sit and work in. It’s quieter and generally just a bit cooler than a coffee shop but they have wifi and do a great set of teas (and cocktails if you fancy something stronger as you work!). Obviously working is optional, it’s a good place to bring friends along to for brunch or lunch. The food is great, we’ve tried the ham hock and pea croquettes, rosemary and garlic fries and the sausage rolls most recently and they’re so snackable and moreish (although they don’t photograph so well!). Definitely another place to add to the list if you haven’t already tried it.
Local people, where do you like to go for brunch, dinner or drinks? I’m always looking to pick up some more great options to try 🙂