By Josh Barrie
Ah, Fulham, sat quietly behind Chelsea’s swagger in south west London. Once you are past Stamford Bridge, you’re in a world of Georgian townhouses, parks and recreation. You’ll probably spot one of the Made in Chelsea lot sat having an espresso by Eel Brook Common. But Fulham and its neighbouring Parsons Green aren’t just red trousers and Bollinger — there are charming little cafes and Indian takeaways galore, too.
Unlike a lot of London’s suburbs, Fulham often fills up at breakfast, given its affluence and the apparent notion that many people are so wealthy they don’t really need to actually do very much. Hally’s in Parsons Green is one of the bustling morning outposts. Its food is inspired by California — think sweet ricotta pancakes with berries and figs, and salmon on rye. Its English breakfast is solid too.
St Clements on the New King’s Road is another light and airy option. It does proper, milky porridge, as well as avocado on top of things, or silky scrambled eggs with Yorkshire smoked bacon. If you’re into juicing, The Juice Bar at TPYC provides you all your matcha and Himalayan pink salt needs.
Lunch time inspiration
Hungover? Can’t quite make it out for breakfast? Brunch is called for. Few places in Fulham are better for such rejuvenation than Joe’s Brasserie on Wandsworth Bridge Road. You can grab an English breakfast until 4pm, or go the traditional route and do a cottage pie or smoked chicken hash with hollandaise.
For a little more refinement and sophistication, things you might more readily associate with south west London, Fulham Road’s Manuka Kitchen turns out a decent wagyu beef bolognese, or salt baked sweet potato with cauliflower salad and fennel yoghurt.
Fulham institution El Metro is a colourful affair of tapas just a 30-second glide from Fulham Broadway. It has been serving food since 1989.
Munster Road has a Locale restaurant. It’s one of three — the other locations are in Blackheath and Southbank. It’s simple Italian food, think burrata and ravioli. It's inoffensive pre-theatre, a calm dip back into 2002.
For more adventure, head to Sukho, a little restaurant that has nailed that accessible authentic style. The cooking is modern — expect plump, salty dumplings, and plenty of fresh chilli punching through the broths, sweet nuts topping cuts of chicken legs.
For family Italian joy, the Sicilian restaurant Sapori Sardi is a proper neighbourhood venue. It’s run by husband and wife team Piero and Rosa, who do all the homely, comforting things brilliantly — lots of lemon, affordable wine, and smiles aplenty.
Claude’s Kitchen is another popular hangout. Claude Compton (you’ll see his name a lot) is of Petersham Nurseries and Club Gascon fame, so knows his stuff. On the menu right now (it changes regularly) are things like octopus and bream with campari and seaweed, and guinea fowl with ‘popcorn grits’.
Otherwise, check out Nayaab, an Indian restaurant with all that you’d hope for in a suburban classic.
Probably the strongest element of Fulham’s scene is the pubs. The Malt House, from that man Claude (this time with Cedric Bosi) is full of whipped goat’s cheese salads and fish and chips and burgers. It caters for ‘match day’ diners, but, being Fulham, has a wine list boosted by Berry Bros. & Rudd.
See also the Harwood Arms, which looks every bit a traditional boozer, yet inside dishes out more restaurant-style food.
Chairs & Coffee is your best bet for proper coffee in Fulham. It does a fine espresso, and the toasted banana bread is well worth nibbling. You’ll find Labi’s Deli on Fulham Road, not bad for grabbing a quick americano and some lunch to go. The area has a Le Pain Quotidien if you’re in a rush and need to enter chain territory. If not, stroll out towards the hills, to Fulham Palace, for a taste of history as well as croissants.
Pubs and bars
The White Horse next to Parsons Green is a towering building with outdoor space and a great beer selection. The Cock Tavern is a regular modern high street pub for evening drinks before, perhaps, heading back into town.
Of course, that chap Claude has his hand in the pub game too — The Tommy Tucker is an upmarket establishment with food and drink just two minutes from Fulham Broadway, while his bar Amuse Bouche is all about the champagne.
Boma on Wandsworth Bridge Road has wine enough to savour on even the most raucous of occasions. Thereafter, there really is only one stop: Kebab Kid, just five minutes down the road on Parsons Green. It’s one of the best kebabs in London.