West 36 Restaurant
36 Golborne Road, London W10 5NR
** All Photos in this Post Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015.**
Food: 4 stars
Service: 3 stars
Atmosphere: 4.0 stars
Design: 4.5 stars
Price/value: 4 stars
Overall: 4.15 stars
West Thirty Six, the latest venture by Robert Newmark, the man behind the Beach Blanket Babylon franchise, is West London’s newest hipster hangout, with bearded staff dressed up in overalls, suspenders and bowties. The Telegraph Newspaper has called it ‘West London’s answer to Central London’s Chiltern Firehouse and East London’s Shoreditch House.’ When I went last Saturday, Ellie Goulding was there on a ‘date night.’ You want to know where the hipsters go for date night? Here’s your answer.
Third floor bottle service. 2015.
Although it has only been open for a month, I have already been there twice and I already have a reservation booked in the next few weeks, even though when I was there opening week, the service was laughably atrocious. Despite waiting for our food for 40minutes, the staff not speaking English and our food being sent to the neighbouring table, I still really wanted to go again. So, how could a restaurant still convince me to return when the waiter, as cute as he was, looked completely overwhelmed and admitted to being completely stressed out and unable to manage his tables? This review will mostly be of my second time there, since the first time would have been dragged down by the confused, disorientated, and clearly first-day-on-the-job staff (It was like being served by a better looking Charlie Chaplin waiter with a bow tie and suspenders and a One Direction haircut, but he had enough Latin charm to pull it off and be forgiven by the end of the night.)
First floor dining area. 2015.
So, why, you ask me, would I ever return to a place where the staff is picked based on attractive looks but not their knowledge of English, the food arrives 40 minutes late and ends up on someone else’s table, I was charged for my dessert twice on the bill, and the waiters look at you cluelessly when you order a Pisco Sour is? Turns out, the design at West Thirty Six, made to look like a ‘member’s club’ without actually being one, is just very cool, the atmosphere is fun, and the food is surprisingly good relative to the service you receive.
Ground floor, open plan kitchen and bar. 2015.
The ground floor is a brasserie-style restaurant where a lot of the action is, with cramped, small, metal tables are scattered around the main shiny bar and crowds of people trying to a) enter the restaurant b) have a drink at the bar being squeezed by people trying to get through c) squish past the waiters to get to the stairs to go to the first floor. The tables are so close together on this floor that you are practically sitting on your neighbour’s lap. There is door by the stairs where the staff keep appearing from, but always when you are trying to get up the stairs and therefore causing constant human traffic jams. Whoever designed this place had the aesthetics right, but was not a spatial engineer; the space was not designed for this many people.
First floor dining room. 2015.
The first floor has a bar and small lounge area with leather chairs and low, wooden coffee tables on the left, and on the right is another dining area, Soho House style, cozy, lounge-y, and full of candles, which I have wanted to try to but am still not hipster enough to get a reservation there (there are mostly tables for large groups in this dining room). The top floor is reserved for ‘bottle service’ that you can book through the Manager, and where I believe Ellie Goulding was partying until 1am (way past my bedtime, ladies and gents). This floor is meant to be seen as a ‘member’s area,’ where you can keep your bottle until the next you come, or as a place to work during the day.
The chunky chips, ribeye steak and mac ‘n’ cheese. 2015.
The menu here is a ‘man’s man’ menu; lots of meats, chips, and more meats. Vegetarians need not apply. Steaks, chicken wings, ribs, lobster were all on the menu to get the men salivating, following the Steak & Lobster trend. For the sides, there were skinny chips, big chunky chips, mac ‘n’ cheese, and bone marrow mash. Everything looked delicious when we looked at our neighbour’s table. For starters, we ordered the beetroot salad and the blue cheese salad, both which were tasty and of hearty proportions, and the maple syrup chipotle chicken wings, which Mr.T said were the best wings he had ever had.
Half a rack of ribs. 2015.
For the mains, Mr. X and I had juicy, tender ribeyes, which were nicely done medium rare. Mr. T had an entire rack of ribs, which was enormous and fed all four of us, while Ms. D had the lobster which was delicious but the dressing was perhaps a bit too flavourful, which she said took away from the lobster taste. All the portions are huge, so no one was about to leave with an empty stomach. This is hearty ‘brasserie’ food with hearty portions, whose portions will probably start to decrease as time goes by (which restaurants always do after the first few opening weeks), but for now, keep on bringing those ribs.
As a dessert, we had the famous Apple Pie which is brought in its baking tray to your table and dolloped on your plate, as well as a ‘Make Your Own Sundae,’ of vanilla and chocolate ice cream sprinkled with salted caramel popcorn and bitter caramel sauce (Note: half the toppings were unavailable).
The service was much better the second time around, and even though you feel cramped and squished from the moment you enter the restaurant, I still plan on coming back. The building is a huge space of multiple nooks and crannies, rooms and drinking dens that charm you, reminiscent of Paradise by Kensal Rise. The outdoor areas, from the first floor outdoor terrace to the Toolshed smoking area, look all like they will be a great alternative to the Westbourne in the summer.
It is already packed full, which shows its popularity. And I am fuelling this, since despite the dazed and confused service at times, I still really like it. It’s buzzy and busy, maybe even a bit too much, which creates a good atmosphere. Both times I was there, I befriended our table-neighbours, mostly because of the size of the our rack of ribs, but also because we were playing footsie with them due to our close proximity. But rubbing shoulders with your neighbours in this restaurant is a rather pleasant experience, which makes it OK. This is exactly what this place is about: meeting friends, making new friends and leaving feeling very full.
An after-dinner drink was impossible, the place was so packed, and we were not quite feeling young and trendy enough for the bottle service upstairs, so opt for a pre-dinner drink when it is less busy, or head back towards Portobello and have a drink at Santo for a night-cap.
See you there next week.