‘Review: Paradise By Way of Kensal Green’


All photos in this post courtesy of NHYM 2015 apart from one. 

Food: 3.8 stars

Atmosphere:  3.85 stars

Service: 4 stars

Design: 4 stars

Price/Value: 3.8 stars

Overall: 3.85 stars


First floor Bar/Restaurant Courtesy of the Internet NHYM 2015


Paradise isn’t a new restaurant, but they have just put in place a new Head Chef, Cat Ashton, straight from the Petersham Nurseries to head their kitchen, and I was cordially invited to try their new menu last week. My friends fall into two camps; those cool/hipster ones that said ‘Paradise is really cool, great place!’ when I told them I was going, while the others looked at me blankly/abject wonder when I told them I was going to Kensal Green for dinner. They responded: ‘Non! Kensaal Greeen?’ shaking their heads ‘I ‘ave never ‘eard of eet!’ These latter are some of my Euro-continental friends who have never left SW3 to SW7, but I felt that it was time I covered a restaurant that may not be as polished or groomed as some of the others, but makes it up more than enough in character and colour.


The Restaurant Dining Room NHYM 2015.

Paradise is more than just a restaurant, it is a 3 levelled area of Gastro-pub, private rooms, bar and club. On the ground floor, as you are welcomed by a giant statue of an angel, there is a front bar and a private dining room on the right, with the main dining room at the back. On the first floor is a club/bar where DJs spin on weekend nights, when it gets so packed it reminds me of my first ever Metallica concert when I was 13 years old… ie. way past my age-tolerance. On other nights, they host all kinds of open-mic, poetry nights, and special events, for the true trendsters out there. In Notting Hill terms, this place could be a hybrid of Beach Blanket Babylon and the First Floor Restaurant on Portobello, decorated with religious iconography, chandeliers, candelabras, old Renaissance-style oil paintings on the wall, and mismatched wooden chairs.


Restaurant Dining Room NHYM 2015. 

The Food

But back to the restaurant, which is what I was asked to review, compliments of the house. The menu is solid English comfort food staples with a twist of sweetness (Cat must have a sweet tooth). We started off the dinner with Flower Courgette Tempura filled with Ricotta Cheese, which was quite creamy and unctuous with a honey sweetness, and a Burrata which was satisfyingly good. For our mains, both of us chose the steak. We are both hearty meat-eaters and we had the asparagus and honey-butter Rib Eye steak, which was good. Not mind-blowing good, but good nonetheless and satisfying. On the sides, we had polenta chips with parmesan, and if you hadn’t noticed, Polenta is currently all the rage at the moment.

The service was good, almost a bit too attentive, although they brought the potatoes instead of polenta at first, but quickly rectified it with a profuse apology. The wait staff were all very friendly and helpful, and actually all had English as their first language, which is quite a rarity in London.


Rib Eye Steak and polenta chips NHYM 2015.

Grand finale

For our desserts, we had the Pavlova with mango, which we were told was really the dessert to have, and was quite caramel-like chewy, and made us feel like two kids eating Carambar (a caramel candy from my youth which sticks to your teeth for the rest of the evening, for those who don’t know) and the Sticky Date Pudding, butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice-cream, which was a twist from the usual Sticky toffee pudding, but which was equally as indulgent.


Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and Mango Pavlova NHYM 2015.

The Ambience/Crowd

We had an early seating, which was a novice’s mistake, as the place only really gets crowded around 8:30/9pm (tip: don’t go before 8:30pm), when it filled up with an eclectic crowd of Americans, French, English and other nationalities. Next to us was an Asian couple on probably their Friday-Night-Fourth-Date, filled with slight nervous excitement, flirting and compliments. ‘Ah young love’ I said looking at my husband, dreamily remembering our fourth date. This was date night for us, but a slightly different date night: ‘let’s-get-out-of-here-we-need-a-break-from-our-kids-date-night’. Next to them were two older women having a nice Friday night dinner together. The crowd was mixed, young and old, one table was intergenerational, while another table had a table 10 young men celebrating a birthday. Some tables were trendy, some weren’t. (The private room in the front was filled with 10 giggling, dressed to the 9s, probably celebrating a hen night).

The Verdict

We left as the younger versions of ourselves came in. I can’t comment on the rest of the place that night as we had a baby-curfew (the time when it’s time to go home because you know you will be woken up at 5am by your toddler), but from what I saw, it is place for a fun night out with a group, where the main agenda of the night is to have a good, fun night, which in some restaurants in London is hard to find (some friends have accused Chiltern Firehouse to be more about people-watching than enjoying one’s self). Dinner was Gastro-pub Good, but in a creatively goth surrounding. Mr. X really enjoyed Paradise and feels quite at home there, less ‘see and be seen’ than some of our Notting Hill/Mayfair restaurants we often frequent. So, if you’re in the neighbourhood, this one should be on top of your list to check out, Goth and all.




Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green on Urbanspoon


Review: West 36 Restaurant, Golborne Road

West 36 Restaurant

36 Golborne Road, London W10 5NR

Tel 02037520530


** 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.

The Service

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.)

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First floor dining area. 2015. 

The Design

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.

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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 Food 

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.


Lobster. 2015. 

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 Verdict

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.




West Thirty Six on Urbanspoon