Oh how I love summer in my home city of West London. Long days of sunshine, easy summer dressing, a buzzing park-life…and with half the city on holiday, it can be a good time to get table reservations. So where to go to make the most of those balmy evenings? Well I may be biased, as it’s my neighbourhood, but with my West London top three, you’re spoilt for choice.
If it’s an alfresco courtyard, chic waterside or lively tropical vibe you are looking for, I’d venture to say – west is best. When it comes to enjoying the last of the summer dine at least.
Pomona’s Restaurant and Bar
As a resident of (the less salubrious part of) West London for well over a decade, I have seen a fair few old boozers get taken over by more instagram friendly establishments. Pomona’s being one such upgrade. With a buzzy, hip and bright conservatory style decor. Featuring plenty of ‘millennial pink’, and stuffed with green plants. An aesthetic perfectly suited to its wholesome Westbourne Grove neighbourhood. The ethically sourced British menu of local produce, from land, sea and earth, is devised by new-ish Head Chef, Ruth Hansom and served by preppy and perky wait staff, with the alfresco terrace open (weather permitting) until the end of September.
I went for a late brunch (drunch?) to try the new menu, which I think gives permission to indulge in a little from both menus. A zesty fresh OJ with earthy wild mushroom fricassee topped with runny poached egg. With a side of hand cut chunky triple cooked chips which were the best I’ve ever had. Which is quite the accolade being a bit of a chip aficionado. Chips, not fries. Delightfully crisp on outside and light and fluffy inside. Served with whipped hollandaise and washed down with a punchy Virgin Mary. Sometimes it’s the simplest dishes that make a restaurant a destination and with those Pomona’s have nailed it.
Pomona’s Restaurant and Bar
47 Hereford Road
London W2 5AH
Another favourite local of mine, Taqueria is always buzzing, especially on summer evenings. With trendy bare bulb lighting in rows cover the ceiling, being completely glass fronted, with door/windows mostly open in the summer, the long and narrow floor planning means everyone gets the feel of a window seat. Mexican street food style cuisine adding to the laid back tropical feel.
This restaurant is single-handedly responsible for inspiring my new found appreciation for the humble iceberg lettuce. Served here as a crunchy fresh wedge, pimped with a creamy avocado and tarragon dressing with pomegranate. A great accompaniment to the cheesy, garlic mushroom quesadillas. Followed by the unmissable cider battered cod tacos.
The kind of food best shared and eaten with your hands, just embrace the messy. Finish with churros dipped in a caramel sauce washed down with almond horchata. You’re welcome.
141-145 Westbourne Grove
London W11 2RS
For those yet to have discovered this Maida Vale institution, you’re in for a treat. One of my favourite spots for summer lunches, The Hamptons style Summerhouse has a feel of stepping onto a stylish boat. With long carrara marble counter, tongue and groove panelling and exposed timber. A neat faux privet hedging framing the open fronted terrace overlooking Regent’s Canal.
We often start with a dozen fresh as the sea Rock Oysters. Firm and nutty, perfect served with shallot & red wine vinegar oysters, slurped, crushed and swallowed. Or try the catch of the day – which on my last visit was melt in the mouth skate wing served with blackened beurre noisette and capers, served on a natty Summerhouse logoed plate, with mash. Classic fare done to perfection, with the aptly named “Chocolate Lovers” sharing plate worth a battle of the spoons over.
Opp. 60 Blomfield Road
London W9 2PA