The South Kensington Street Every Foodie Should Know About

The South Kensington Street Every Foodie Should Know About

Feeling a bit peckish but don't know what you're in the mood for? We're so spoilt for choice in London it's hard to know where to start, so here's a street full of independent restaurants to get you going.

Gloucester Road

Fait Maison

The brainchild of Mohamed El-Banna and Mohamed Osman, Fait Maison was set up on this site in Gloucester Road in 2011. It's the fifth branch in their business, but are keen to point out they are no franchise or big chain, and hope this comes across in the care and attention they give each restaurant.

Quality is first and foremost for El-Banna and Osman, including the ingredients they choose. Their lamb is always Welsh, and other meats are sourced by their trusted butchers Miller of Kensington, from the UK (or Europe when out of season). Their own team brings in the vegetables directly from wholesale vegetable markets, and they do their utmost to support local shops for everything else.

The branch's signature dish is their Middle Eastern Breakfast, which unusually comprises of a salad made with chopped greens, feta, home-made labneh and a pomegranate molasses dressing poured over crispy fried flat bread. Osman can't resist their Custard and Caramel tarts, and El-Banna has a preference for their Pasta Al Forno, which is a dish of his own creation from a family recipe. He's so particular about it he oversees its productions with any new chef.

If you really want to see Fait Maison at its best, visit when 'Arab season' is at its height and you'll find Arabic music spilling out through the door and Middle Eastern waiters dancing across the shop floor. And don't be shy about joining in.

Fait Maison is open Monday-Sunday 7am-10pm

Da Mario

There's just something about a family-run restaurant that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, something you get at Da Mario. Mario was one of the two founders of Pizza Express, which started in 1965, but opened his own pizza restaurant in 1967 with a very different feel and in terms of menu and decor. It remains in the hands of his wife and two sons bringing the authentic tastes of Naples to life, which is also where the ingredients are directly sourced. If you want to try out their signature dish, choose the Seafood Spaghetti, also the owner's favourite.

A whole host of celebrities have dined here, including Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, Penelope Cruz, Madonna and the late Princess Diana herself who would bring Princes William and Harry when they were younger.

Da Mario is open Monday-Sunday noon-11.30pm

MK Bar & Grill

Gloucester Road has so many flavours from across the road, but don't worry there's some traditional British and European grub too. MK Bar & Grill's menu comprises of heartwarming favourites such as beef stroganoff and lamb stew.

Their simple, modern interior makes it fairly ideal for intimate dinners or an easy setting for group parties. One of their specialties is their award-winning beef from Donald Russell butchers, which holds a Royal Warrant, with burgers made in-house and steaks cooked to preference. Early riser? They open at 7am and make a mean eggs benedict.

MK Bar & Grill is open Monday-Sunday 7am-11pm

Coco Momo

Perhaps you like your brasseries with a heavy emphasis on good wine? In which case Coco Momo might just have your name on it — especially if you're looking for a great wine bar to sit in at leisure while you wait for your black tie event to begin at the Royal Albert Hall (only a 10 minute walk away from all these restaurants on Gloucester Road).

They provide small plates and boards if you're looking to take the edge off your appetite — from smoked haddock and clam chowder to pan fried scallops with pea puree and crispy bacon.

If you're after something a little more substantial then their French duck breast with crushed potatoes, bacon and braised hispi cabbage may take your fancy, or perhaps one of their premium steaks.

Coco Momo is open Monday-Sunday 9am-11pm

L'Etranger Restaurant

If you like the sound of Japanese-French fusion La Petite Poissonerie from our Central London Foodie Street article, then wait until you hear about L'Etranger. On the pricier side compared to the Poissonerie — spotting caviar on the menu is a clear giveaway — this restaurant serves up a special selection of maki and sashimi in glam, mood-inducing surroundings and has won over 30 accolades since opening in 2002.

L'Etranger means 'The Stranger' and is named after Albert Camus' 1942 novel, though don't be frightened by any potential connection to that book's absurdism. The restaurant was opened by Ibi Issolah who has worked for big name restaurants such as Butlers Wharf Chop House and the Atlantic Bar & Grill.

Their signature dishes are their caramelised black cod with miso and pomme gallette, and pan seared Scottish scallops with truffle puree, and you can take advantage of their lunch deal and pre/post theatre menus. Want to make a night of it? Relax with a wine or cocktail in their Piano Lounge on the same site.

L'Etranger Restaurant is open Monday-Saturday noon-3pm/5.30pm-11pm

Gloucester Arms

A part of the well known Greene King franchise, the Gloucester Arms is your destination on Gloucester Road for your regular pub classics at an affordable price. From fish & chips and pies to Hunter's chicken and a Sunday roast. They also provide a light menu for those watching their calories. If you're a sports fan who likes to drink a pint and blast the opposing team over wifi, they have you sorted.

Gloucester Arms is open Monday-Friday 11am-11pm, Saturday-Sunday noon-10.30pm

Memories of India

Memories of India is a Gloucester Road staple dating back to 1984 and provides a great range of meat, seafood and vegetarian options sure to please anyone who is a fan of a good curry. You'll find your traditional Balti and Massala, but also a few new creative ideas such as Paneerwala Murg — chicken breast tossed in home made cottage cheese, spring onion and ginger. There's also the Officers Chops — lamb chops cooked in a clay-oven with a special sauce of honey and soya.

Here you'll find a mix of authentic Indian cuisine with a twist of ingenuity. They have an a la carte menu and a two course lunch offer if you're able to nip out during the day.

Memories of India is open Monday-Sunday noon-11.30pm

Little India

If you have room for some more Indian food, then how about Little India? This family restaurant began 30 years ago when Nadeem's mother was inspired by her husband's restaurant and knew she could do just as well (if not better). It's one of the first Indian restaurants in London owned by a woman. Nadeem, her mother and her father all work in the restaurant to this day.

The signature dish is unsurprisingly the classic Chicken Tikka Masala, but Nadeem recommends anything from the Tandoor grill which produces a sizzling spectacle. If you're looking for something a little more unusual, the Sylheti Lebu Mosala might just be for you as it's a curry dish made with the skin of a south Indian citrus fruit.

The majority of the spices are sourced from India and Bangladesh and every recipe is created by the owner.

Little India is open Saturday-Thursday noon-11.30pm, Friday 3pm-11.30pm

Jakobs

If you're looking for an organic eatery thank Jakobs is your next stop. They dish up specialties from the Middle East and Mediterranean and everything is freshly prepared on the premises. Their healthy fusion food includes roasted vegetable medleys, organic fish, free range chicken and meat, salads and wraps.

Jakobs grows their mint, basil, rocket and Persian herbs in an allotment and even have plans to expand their ability to cultivate their own food by making use of the balcony, conservatory and flat roof of the restaurant itself.

They are most popular with the lunchtime crowd, but three nights a week they host live music evenings. How do Russian Sundays, Jazz night Wednesdays and Greek Thursdays sound?

Photo: Jakobs

Jakobs is open Monday-Sunday 8am-11pm

Khobkhun Thai Cuisine

Thai food lovers may have their favourite tried and tested restaurants in London, but Khobkhun Thai Cuisine's attempt to sway you to Gloucester Road by providing your favourite familiar dishes but newly improved in creative ways.

The chefs use inspiration from the authentic flavours of Thailand to provide hard-to-find dishes, so if you've visited Thailand and haven't found that one obscure dish or taste you really loved back in Blighty, it's worth giving this place a shot.

Khobkhun Thai Cuisine is open Monday-Saturday noon-3pm/6pm-11pm, Sunday 6pm-11pm

Il Borgo

Il Borgo promises a true taste of Italy in the heart of London, having provided Londoners with Italian cuisine for over 20 years. You feel a world away from the capital city as you eat in a cosy environment surrounded by classic Italian wall paintings.

Their style is a blend of traditional and modern dishes all cooked to order and an emphasis on using fresh ingredients. This is another great restaurant choice for vegetarians, there's a plethora of veggie options on the menu and many dishes are easily adapted to suit your preferences.

Il Borgo is open Monday-Sunday noon-midnight

Last Updated 01 February 2018