From a mouth watering vindaloo to a scrumptious brunch and the 'best ever' lasagne West London is fast becoming a haven for foodies with some cracking eateries offering great food.
Manuka Kitchen 510 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW6 5NJ. Telephone 020 7736 7588. Web: www.manukakitchen.co.uk Closed Mondays
Manuka Kitchen opened its doors in late 2012 and wowed me one evening with some splendid food at cracking prices, matched by a small well chosen affordable wine list, as the dream of operating and running a neighbourhood brasserie became a reality for the hard working Joseph Antippa and Kiwi chef Tyler Martin.
Nestled on the bustling Fulham Road, just a few hundred metres walk from the Broadway Tube station the beauty of this place is its relaxed atmosphere. There are no crisp white tablecloths or fancy design statements, it's been put together on a tight budget. The eating area is compact and the focal point is the open kitchen where Tyler and his team can be seen producing out some great food from a small well constructed menu.
Manuka also turns out some of the best brunch fare in the area and throw in a decent Flat White coffee and it is worth seeking out this cosy little joint. Every component of my Full Breakfast (£9.50) was well cooked using quality ingredients and delicious, it was a triumph on a plate – my kind of quality fry up.
My partner Fiona declared herself in 'Eggs Benedict (£8.50) heaven' as the poached eggs, thick tasty bacon and well balanced hollandaise sauce really hit the spot. Brunch is served Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 10am-3pm.
Claude's Kitchen 51 Parsons Green Lane, Parsons Green SW6 4JA Telephone 020 7371 8517 www.amusebouchelondon.com Closed Mondays
Claude's Kitchen opened its doors in March and with an impressive background that includes being the founder of the award-winning street food company, Green Goat Food and ex Petersham Nurseries and Club Gascon chef, Claude Compton's first restaurant launch above well-known champagne bar Amuse Bouche in Parsons Green certainly sparkled on my visit.
Candles on the wooden stairs leading up to the restaurant create a good first impression and once inside there is a warm glow to the comforting and rustic style 40 seat dinning room which has and a clean, crisp colour scheme.
The restaurant offers a short well constructed menu (three starters, four mains and four deserts) and with all ingredients served fresh from carefully selected producers, each dish is seasonal and changes weekly – a nice touch diners appreciate.
The young kitchen team, headed up by Compton, produce some imaginative and interesting dishes that work in delicious harmony on the plate. A wonderfully fresh Cornish crab, with shaved spouts, fennel, blood orange, chilli, campari and crunch grape (£8) was a great example of bold and vibrant, well seasoned flavours.
Mains of deliciously braised Barbary duck (£16), served with a lovely smooth parsnip mash, fennel and a rich Seville orange sauce and perfectly cooked crispy gilt-head sea bream (£16) lifted by the use of wild garlic, baby plum tomatoes, new potatoes and a light and delicate sauce, with hints of saffron. The slight saltiness of seasonal lightly steamed monk's beard – were further evidence of some great food coming out of the kitchen.
For desert I marvelled at an expertly made creation of rich bitter choc parfait (£6) served with red wine figs, dreamy fizzy grapes and a wafer thin beet crisp to top it all - a mouth watering pud with a brilliant mixture of tingling tastes.
Acciuga, 343 Kensington High Street W8 6NW. Telephone 020 7603 3888 www.acciuga.co.uk Closed Sunday evenings, Monday
Acciuga opened its doors in the summer in Kensington High Street yet you might question the sanity of a 24-year-old who turns his back on a promising career as a lawyer and professional rugby player in his native Italy and moves to west London to become a chef – but once you taste his food you start to understand the logic behind such a dramatic life changing move.
The young chef in question is Guglielmo Arnulfo, who is the driving force behind Acciuga (Italian for anchovy). He has only been cooking for three years so is something of a baby to the game but this chef is determined to woo customers to the restaurant with his traditional style of Italian cooking from the regions of Liguria (his homeland), Piedmont and Tuscany.
A great example was my starter of baked and fried anchovies (£8) which arrived in an anchovy tin opened to reveal a delicious peppery tomato sauce which went lovingly with the wonderfully fresh tasting fish, of which there were plenty on the plate.
However, the star turn of the meal and the reason I would return time and time again is the lasagne All'albese (£14) I could barely wait for the dish (a classic from Piedmont and not baked) to arrive and when it did I was not disappointed. Each mouthful was divine, the lasagne perfect, as the ingredients including white sausage, chicken livers, carrots and courgette made for a perfectly seasoned rich, meaty lovingly created plate of food – it was close to perfection.
Terrace Restaurant 33 Holland Street, Kensington W8 4LX Telephone 020 7937 9252 www.theterraceonhollandstreet.co.uk Closed Sunday, Monday
The Terrace in Holland street Kensington came back on the restaurant scene with a bang in the spring under the ownership of Sara Adams, a familiar face to diners in the area, and serves up some seriously good food from its charming neighbourhood setting.
Sara is the owner of the popular and well established Kensington Square Eatery, so she knows a thing or two about running a restaurant, and her head chef James Kelly moved down the road to head up the kitchen at the attractive eatery.
Once inside, the cosy dining area – there is room for just 18 covers – is cleverly designed with the tables well positioned so that it does not feel cramped. The minimalistic contemporary interior design using cool light greys and hints of silver is slick and good use of lighting and the eye catching large glass frontage makes for a light and relaxed dining atmosphere.
There is an innovative and well constructed menu (five starters, five mains and five deserts) that is high on quality rather than quantity and delivers fresh seasonal British and European cuisine, all superbly presented.
Highlights were great starters of crispy skinned flavoursome seared mackerel, with a rich smoked mackerel croquette, beetroot and orange and tasty horseradish cream (£9.50) and Devon crab on toast with a shaved fennel and apple salad (£9) as the fresh flavours sung in harmony on the plate.
The kitchen did not disappoint either with a mains of beautifully cooked gleaming white thick pan fried cod served with a superb tasting crispy cheek, split peas, a pea shoot salad and the pièce de résistance, a show stopping pot of shrimp tartar sauce, which tasted just divine (£17.50).
Potli 319-321 King Street, Hammersmith W6 9NH. Telephone 0208 7414328 www.potli.co.uk
For the best vindaloo in town head to Potli where Jay Ghosh is part owner of the restaurant situated in Hammersmith's King Street. He is a passionate chef who cooks truly authentic fresh food from his Calcutta roots in the style found in the famous food markets on bustling street corners in every city and town across India.
Ghosh's Goan pork vindaloo (£9.50) is a cutting edge curry that lives up to expectation with plenty of heat but not of the 'blow your socks off' kind. The perfectly cooked pork loin and belly was tender and came soaked in a vibrant thick rich gravy, which included vinegar, chillies, garlic, cumin and cinnamon. With some some simple steamed rice (£3) it was a dish to savour and linger over.
A main of Goan Prawn Balchao (£9.50) was also a star turn. The prawns were plump and juicy, coated in a spicy mouth tingling special balchao marsala, and there were warming hits of star anise and cinnamon which lingered on the taste buds long after the last prawn had disappeared off the plate.
But the real star turn of this restaurant is Jay's skills in producing some imaginative cooking and new seasonal dishes which deliver a cacophony of flavours and spices that linger long after you have left the restaurant.
Vinoteca 18 Devonshire Road W4 2HD. Telephone 020 3701 8822 www.vinoteca.co.uk
Vinoteca opened its doors in October and delivers a vintage food and wine experience to match the best on offer in Chiswick - a haven for food lovers.
The wine bar, restaurant and wine shop concept nestled in a mid-terrace building is unobtrusive from the street but once you have stepped inside you immediately feel at home – with a welcome and assurance you are about to enjoy good food and wine in a comfortable and stylish environment. The design is impressive and sympathetic to the restaurant's concept and perfectly reflects its food and wine theme.
The menu, which impressively changes daily, has strong influences from the wine growing areas of France, Italy and Spain and is strong on rustic Mediterranean dishes. Highlights were a main of grilled Devonshire lamb leg with squash caponata and salsa verde (£16), with the perfectly cooked meat simply melting in the mouth and a sensational salsa verde, comprising of anchovies, garlic, capers and basil bringing the whole dish together.
There is a real buzz to this place and a cracking atmosphere to enjoy good food and wine in and a well executed pud of hazelnut and salt caramel semifreddo (£6) was bang on and well worth looking out for.