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238 West End Lane
Ham brings a welcome dose of sophistication to West Hampstead – perhaps unsurprising given the pedigree of a head chef whose impressive CV includes a stint at The Ledbury. The place was packed on our weeknight visit with vacated tables being replaced immediately by new guests (a bar acts as a holding area) and while there’s a definite buzz to the small dining room, diners aren’t rushed – just as well when the food and friendly staff provide reason to linger.
Five starters and five mains make choosing easy and vegetarians do particularly well here with two options in each section. Mains impressed particularly; aged beef was cooked tenderly and served with an innovative-tasting black sesame and soy sauce, while roasted root vegetables with almond, pear and parsley was a well thought-out combination of ingredients. Chocolate tart and blood orange pudding wowed as a finale, a decadent delight of richness offset by the fruit sorbet and, like all of the food, eye-catchingly presented. An intelligently composed wine list is worthy of additional mention, while brunches, a kids’ menu and cakes at teatime are proving hits with the locals.
SquareMeal 2 Stars
SquareMeal's Hottest New Openings
238 West End Lane
020 7813 0168
West Hampstead Tube Station 558m
West Hamstead Thameslink Station 559m
Vue Cinema Finchley Road 674m
Everyman Cinema 1km
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
Had a lovely dinner at Ham, started with a delicious tempura veg, crunchy veg with a lovely creamy hollandiase with a hint of miso making a quite unusual flavour but worked really well. For main course i had the beef which was perfectly pink and you could really taste the quality of the meat. For pudding a sumptuous chocolate tart which was rich and creamy but perfectly paired with a yoghurt ice cream. I will definately be back, at £45 a head we thought it was very reasonable
Food + drink: 4
Let’s first get one thing clear: the accent on the ‘a’ of the restaurant’s name is deliberate and renders pronunciation of the word ‘hame.’ For the unaware, it is old English, for home and a very appropriate choice for this restaurant. Coming here is like coming home/hām, a friendly and welcoming local venue, which cooks a small number of dishes playing strongly to England’s heritage – and does them very well. A quick review of the menu highlights cod and crab from Devon, quail from Norfolk, lamb from Cumbria and beef from Hereford. Yes, we are resolutely in the counties of England, despite the chef hailing from Australia (with an impressive CV to boot, which takes in a stint at the Ledbury). Lest readers think that Hām is about a return to the food of Henry VIII, all the dishes are given a very modern take with emphasis on presentation, taste, texture and combination. Moreover, from a list comprising five starters and five mains, vegetarians do very well, with 40% of the options suitable for them. I often find bread and butter give an indication of what is to come and here, Hām did not disappoint: moist bread and perfectly salted butter. My comrade and I continued to be impressed throughout, including the wines (interestingly a Moroccan Syrah is their best-selling red) and the fitting finale of a superlative chocolate tart with blood orange sorbet. Pricing is reasonable (starters average £9 and mains £16), particularly given the quality but also the service. Nothing seemed too much trouble for the staff here and detailed knowledge of the product range was evident. Hām seems to have hit upon a winning formula as all the tables were packed on our recent visit, with those vacated quickly filled again. Despite this, we never felt rushed and certainly plan to return. An undoubted welcome addition to the neighbourhood.
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