Maggie Jones, High Street Kensington
Tucked away just off Kensington Church Street, a few minutes’ walk from High Street Kensington tube, you’ll find a delightful brick house with flower pots in the windows and ‘Maggie Jones’s’ cheerfully plastered above the front entrance. Entrée, s’il vous plait.
Ideal for a chilly grey day, which sadly I believe we still have ahead of us at the moment. Come here for a long drowsy lunch or a hearty, warm dinner. The restaurant itself is dark, with heavy wooden beams, bric-a-brac everywhere and old wagon wheels hanging on the walls. It feels like you’ve wandered straight into a French village pub.
It’s not the trendiest of places to go – I’d say we were the youngest by quite a bit. This may have been because it was a Monday lunchtime, but all meals are candle-lit and the booths are pretty romantic, so it’s a great place for a date. Having said that, there is a huge table on the first-floor, which would be ideal for a large party.
The staff are French. Very French. Don’t be put off by the manager, whom you’ll meet first. I asked him if there was any outdoor seating (it was a sunny day), he looked passed me through the windows pretending to look for any seating. He then looked back at me with a cold glare and I was silenced. ‘Three floors of seating is enough, madame’. Alright, I got the message. The other waiters were much friendlier and the service was quick and good.
While dinner is more expensive, you can’t really beat the prices for lunch. £5 for any starter. £7 for any main. And there’s none of this ‘large plate, tiny portion of food’ rubbish which you get in fancy restaurants. I also really love it when the bread basket comes round and the bread is soft and fluffy. I had a delicious cheese and leak quiche to start, and Rob had the duck liver pate (the taste was more metallic than creamy: divine). As a main course Rob went for the chicken in a cream tarragon sauce, he was not disappointed. I chose the salmon steak (largest I have ever seen) and Hollandaise sauce (a bit too much like mayonnaise for my liking). They came with generous portions of sweetened carrots, mushy peas and potatoes. Of course it was all a little too obvious that the cook had been generous with his use of butter. But come on, its French cooking. They’re good at that.
Having declined desert, we rolled out of the restaurant and blinked in the bright sunlight. A delicious lunch and not even too heavy for a Ben’s Cookie on the way to the Tube…
Two Course Lunch with soft drink and service charge for two people: £32Maggie Jones’s 6 Old Court Place London, Greater London W8 4PL Tel: 020 7937 6462 www.maggie-jones.co.uk