£30 - £49
60 Blomfield Road, Little Venice, London, W9 2PD
Don’t be fooled by the seasonal moniker: The Summerhouse is now open right through the year – by popular demand. Dreamily located by the banks of Little Venice, just a skip from its sibling The Waterway, this breezy venue offers canal-side dining “with a Cape Cod influence” and sunny echoes of a Long Island beach retreat. Seafood is the main culinary event, with New England clam chowder and popcorn shrimps alongside seared scallops with truffled leeks and pancetta crisps, Canadian lobster with potato salad or beer-battered haddock and chips. Salads, mezze and steaks also get an airing, along with some “outstanding” desserts – perhaps pear and almond tart or spiced rice pudding with caramelised bananas. Drinks include international wines and seasonal refreshers such as River Cruise (Grey Goose vodka, Southern Comfort, amaretto, orange juice and grenadine). The Summerhouse has its own moorings, if you fancy turning up by boat.
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The Hero of Maida
£30 - £49
55 Shirland Road, London, W9 2JD
Henry Harris’s makeover of this much-loved Maida Vale local (formerly The Truscott Arms) is a boon to the area. Here is a chef who really knows his oignons, and the elegant upstairs room certainly has a smart restaurant-style vibe, although the revamp has kept the heart of the business as a proper pub, complete with a beer garden. A splendid square zinc-topped bar dominates the rich blue boozing space downstairs, with an array of boards and jars nestling among the beer pumps for those who fancy a snack with their pint – although the full menu is available to allcomers, upstairs and down.
Harris’s cooking has always leant towards ‘Franglais’, and he’s a master of the style – witness grilled onglet (charred on the outside but served classically rare) with bone-marrow butter adding a sophisticated gloss. Elsewhere, sweet black bacon is layered atop generous slivers of perfectly pink calf’s liver on a pillow of proper mash, while a lovely chunk of pearlescent cod is simply paired with brown butter and capers. Puds such as lemon posset, poached peach and chocolate pots tend to stay this side of the Channel, and they’re spot-on for those who still have room.
As befits a really good hostelry, the mainly French wine list has plenty of choice by the glass, but there are some serious bottles for those looking to push the boat out. Lots of customers, however, stick to pub drinks – there’s an impressive line-up of lagers and ales on draught, as well as some decent cider.
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The Red Pepper
£30 - £49
8 Formosa Street, London, W9 1EE
Since launching in 1994, this cosy, informal neighbourhood eatery has become something of a local institution in Little Venice with its offer of high-quality hand-crafted pizzas cooked in a special wood-fired oven imported from Italy. Regulars advise sitting upstairs for the best buzz, although the place is always humming with happy customers enjoying the spoils from a 12-strong line-up that might run from margherita, napoli and calzone classics to a well-liked version with sausage, spinach and chilli on a light, crispy base. The menu also promises a fistful of pastas such as linguine with clams, alongside mains ranging from grilled lamb cutlets with sautéed potatoes to Skrei cod casserole with oregano and tomato sauce. Tiramisu hits the spot for dessert, and the food is matched by some gluggable Italian wines at relatively painless prices. Takeaways available.
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451 Edgware Road, W2 1TH
A superb location awaits at this Little Venice local, with one side of the restaurant open onto the Regent’s Canal and a ‘distinctly cool’, clubby interior living up to Gogi’s billing as a ‘bar and grill’. Exposed brickwork, red strip lighting, black seats and a funky dance/R&B soundtrack set the mood, while the menu offers a reasonably priced, 60-dish jaunt through the mainstream Korean repertoire. Generous earthenware pots filled with spicy bibimbap provide ‘invigorating stimulation for the nose and palate’, bulgogi BBQs are a table-top fixture, and the pictorial menu also covers various soups, noodles, salads and appetisers such as bossam (slow-cooked pork belly with punchy daikon and cabbage leaves for wrapping) – not forgetting the obligatory kimchi. Lunch focuses on one-dish picks from the full-line-up, and there’s Korean beer to slake the thirst.
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£30 - £49
5 Lanark Place, London, W9 1BT
Since launching, this bento box of a restaurant has had Maida Vale’s sushi-lovers in a spin: fans now need to book well in advance for Saturday night – or settle for a takeaway. It’s a miracle the kitchen can churn out so many dishes in such a small space. A stonking line-up of nigiri, maki rolls, gunkan wraps and sashimi is the main attraction, although there’s much more to tempt – especially in the evening. Appetisers of Wagyu tataki with jalapeño salsa or sliced sea bass with ponzu jelly, chilli and daikon set the scene for skilful tempura, grilled eel teriyaki, breaded pork tonkatsu or ‘dynamite’ beef fired up with spicy Japanese mustard sauce. Lunch is a simpler affair revolving around bento boxes, donburi rice bowls and various noodle riffs. The quality of the cooking more than justifies the high prices, and we’ve always found the staff perfectly pleasant.
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Kateh Maida Vale
£30 - £49
5 Warwick Place, London, W9 2PX
Smartly designed, light and airy, with rough-plastered white walls and dark-wood tables, this canal-side restaurant specialises in a blend of traditional and contemporary Persian cuisine based on the day’s market produce (much of it organic). You can make an entire meal from a selection of beautifully presented mezze such as zeytoon parvardeh (Taggiasche olives with pomegranate and walnuts), jigar (pan-fried organic chicken livers with balsamic, carrots and leeks) and mirza ghassemi (grilled smoked Japanese aubergines with eggs, tomato and garlic). The kitchen also delivers a range of ‘natural’ char-grills (marinated partridge on Umbrian lentils with angelica powder, for example), plus a few fish dishes and veggie stews, while desserts combine distinctly Persian ingredients with classical French cooking techniques – try danmarki (a Middle Eastern-style mille-feuille). Kateh also flies the organic flag when it comes to wines from smaller producers and appellations.
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49 Chippenham Road, London, W9 2AH
Inspired by the roadside cafes of North India, this Maida Vale eatery specialises in fusion dishes that are as beautiful to look at as to eat. Vibrant colours and meticulous presentation make each plate worthy of an Insta post, though we’re pretty sure the aroma will have you diving in as quickly as possible.
A selection of chaats (Indian snacks) kicks off the menu, which is helpfully split into vegetarian and non-vegetarian starters and curries. Keep your eye out for gems such as pav bhaji (delicious buttery buns rarely found outside Mumbai) and baingan bhartha (slow-roasted aubergine) among the usual favourites such as tandoori chicken and lamb rogan josh. An impressive drinks menu, including wines, beers, spirits, cocktails and softs, is sure to satisfy even the trickiest customer, as are the generous portions and reasonable prices.
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