Tel Aviv-Inspired All-Day Dining Hits Notting Hill
Haya sits in the sweet spot between swish and neighbourhoody, though being a Kensington Park Road postcode means prices lean heavily towards the former.
The menu's Mediterranean with a strong Israeli slant — high tahini presence, occasional za'atar cameos. And the venue's light-flooded, stripped-back, plant-strewn, as much shakshuka-slinging daytime cafe as evening date-spot. It's a recipe that's clearly working for Haya, with a roaring trade on a midweek evening — a little queue clumping at the door in a way you usually just see in Soho and eastwards.
Wine's punchily priced but on-point, and same goes for the recommendations from the staff. We're pointed towards the za'atar duck with freekeh and it's a banger, the freekeh chewy, rich and risotto-y with gravy. They're good at meat here; mini beef kebabs are tender, zingy with green tahini and manage to pack layers of meaty/nutty/bright flavours into the tiny bites.
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Other dishes are more one-note: a sharing plates menu that really means it, most of these aren't dishes (quite dinky size notwithstanding) you'd want to tackle alone. The aubergine with tahini and raspberry's so smoky that's the only thing we can really taste: the first bite's sort of intriguing, maybe delicious, and the second bite's borderline too-much — like inhaling deeply over a BBQ, our friend says, meaning it at least half-appreciatively. The burrata with apricot is a set of beautiful ingredients beautifully-plated, but underpowered and desperate for a slick of peppery olive oil to make it a bit less placid.
Thing is though, everything's nice-enough or better on the food front, and as a dining spot it's clearly nailing a lot of what the locals want: welcoming, gently stylish and a nice injection of Mediterranean warmth into a grey, blustery evening. We don't expect the table-cramming crowds at Haya to calm down in the foreseeable.
Haya, 184A Kensington Park Road, W11 2ES.
Last Updated 14 October 2019