£30 - £49
205-207 Haverstock Hill, London, NW3 4QG
“Fantastic, all day, every day”, sums up the local enthusiasm for Chez Bob – a trendy little eatery that aims to mix ‘New York-inspired culinary trends with a seasonally sourced menu’. Despite the French name tag, there’s barely a bourgeois riff in sight; instead the kitchen deals in “well-presented” plates of food loaded with ingredients from the world larder. Get started with Bob’s take on nachos, Korean BBQ chicken wings or some Cajun-spiced calamari with minted yoghurt dip before tackling a buttermilk chicken Kiev, spicy fajitas or grilled salmon fillet with fire-roasted corn, cherry tomato and basil salsa. Modish salads are also a feature, with lots of kale, ‘Goodness Greens’, quinoa and broccolini tossed into the mix, while flat-iron steaks, burgers and dogs point up the transatlantic theme. US and UK beers, decent global wines and “good service” complete the package in this colourfully decorated bistro with an amazing multi-coloured tiled floor.
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£30 - £49
£30 - £49
48-50 Belsize Lane, London, NW3 5AR
The traditional whitewashed taverna gets an upmarket twist at Retsina, a polished Greek restaurant that’s “a cut above the rest”, according to one fan. “Friendly and warm service” is a trump card much appreciated by its smartly attired regulars, but the menu is also “brilliant value” and the kitchen always delivers. Among the “reliably excellent” starters, you might find grilled aubergine salad, lounza (smoked pork fillet), dolmades and baby squid as well as the usual dips and flatbreads, while mains range from char-grilled meat and fish in various forms to slow-cooked stews and peasant dishes such as lamb knuckle or beef stifado with rice to soak up the juices. It’s also worth giving 24-hours’ notice for the leg of milk-fed lamb, suckling pig or casseroled game. Retsina’s £19.50 mixed mezze (for two) is a low-cost way to navigate the menu.
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£30 - £49
25 Winchester Road, London, NW3 3NR
It’s been going for 24 years now, but Simon and Jolanta Bradley’s restaurant looks sharp and contemporary. No foot has been taken off the pedal. Colours are mellow and natural, modern artworks strike a pose, and everything is up-to-date – not least Simon’s modern British cooking (‘with a French accent’, as he says himself). The great-value set menu acts as a pre-theatre option (for visitors to the nearby Hampstead Theatre), as well as a lunchtime opportunity and midweek bargain dinner. A well-chosen wine list holds plenty of choice under £30. The carte reveals the kitchen’s contemporary inclinations, with pumpkin tortellini matched with scorched onion (plus sage and Taleggio), and haunch of venison smoked in pine. Fresh fish comes up from Brixham – to be made into bourride of hake with salt-cod beignet, perhaps – and desserts are no less inviting, if the blackberry and apple soufflé is typical. All in all, a Hampstead stalwart.
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