Como Garden: Vines, Citrus Trees, And Giant Ferrero Rocher Come To Kensington

Como Garden: Vines, Citrus Trees, And Giant Ferrero Rocher Come To Kensington
Image by Como Garden, Kensington.

What's the deal?

New 'Italian tapas' restaurant, from the team that brought you Latin American sister spot Zuaya, down the road.

What's the vibe?

Outside in — trees growing thiccly out of the partition between booths, vines blanketing the walls, little orange trees standing in the corners, and a few small statues garlanded with vines dotted about, a la the grounds of an Italian stately home. That, along with a lot of pristine white leather — banquettes, chairs, booths — and marble tabletops, giving it a vaguely eighties-luxe feel.

Whereabouts?

Kensington High Street, on a corner — with their pavement seating and folding doors on the side opening on to Kensington Court, giving it a little distance from the main road.

What's on the menu?

Despite the 'Italian tapas' manifesto, Como Garden's menu runs to a quite traditional antipasti, primi, secondi format, with a series of starters — arancini, burrata, stuffed pepper — followed by pasta dishes, and then meat and fish with sides, and desserts. As far as we can tell this is a mostly straightforward London-Italian restaurant line up, with some mostly straightforward (and bang on) dishes: pasta alla Norma, trofie al pesto, pan cooked seabass, chicken with sage butter.

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Highlights?

The Amalfi lemon chicken, grilled with sage butter — beautifully tender, and generous enough to serve two people for a main course if you add a side dish.

And surprise entry from the dessert that we didn't think we had space for or interest in: the Como Ferrero Rocher — a rich, moussey ball of hazelnut chocolate in a hard chocolate shell, much bigger and richer than its namesake.

The mushroom and truffle pappardelle was also stellar — rich, earthy, chewy — but with the caveat that, as with our linguini, the restaurant was too cold when we were there to do their pasta justice. We visited during one of the recent storms, and the big doors onto Kensington Court were flung open (whether for Covid safety, or just determination to act as though it's summer, we can't fault the commitment) which made for great visuals — like eating inside a pavilion, surrounded by greenery, rain coming down in sheets outside — but rapidly ambient temp pasta. Our advice: when booking, check what the weather's doing and if the doors are going to be open, and ask for a less exposed corner seat, or layer up on jumpers.

Pricing?  

The bill's going to stack up. The tapas approach means you're looking at about 3 dishes a head pre-dessert — and a delicious but small arancino's going to set you back about £7, and that's the cheapest of the antipasti menu. Pasta dishes start at about £14, the secondi start at £18 without sides, and a lobster linguini comes in at a hefty £25 — punchy for a dish that's not a main course. If you go with their advice of 3ish dishes a head, you're probably looking at £50 each before you hit the dessert menu (and you're going to want to hit the dessert menu), and without drinks and service.

Cocktails are £12 to £14, but the house white and red wines both slide in at just under £30 for a bottle — not cheap, but well-chosen, and you can order by the carafe.

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Can you reserve?

Yes, and it's a good idea - particularly if you have a seating preference.

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Al fresco options?

A thin strip of pavement seating, which would work for two people but not for more. They offer delivery through Uber Eats, SUPPER, and others, so an easy al fresco option would be to picnic in Hyde Park, a few minutes away, though order carefully — we'd expect cold dishes like the antipasti to travel better than the pasta.

Pre-game and post-game?  

A classic pisco sour at sister restaurant Zuaya, next door, or an ale at the always great Churchill Arms, on Kensington Church Street.

Como Garden, 37-45 Kensington High Street, W8 5ED.

Londonist were guests of Como Garden.

Last Updated 09 August 2021