£30 - £49
77 Askew Road, London, W12 9AH
Greasy spoon by day, beguiling North African restaurant by night, Adam’s has been picking up plaudits for nigh-on 20 years. Breakfast has a strong following, while lunch involves budget-priced dishes such as sausage and mash, or lamb chops. However, it’s the Tunisian and Moroccan dinners that draw the crowds, when tablecloths and mood lighting help transform the spot from café to cosy bistro. Sardines with chermoula sauce might kick off a meal, followed by mains of kebabs, tagines, or various spicy couscous dishes, with a choice of French and Middle Eastern desserts as a finale. The venue is fully licensed, but take your own wine (£3 corkage) and the evening will set you back less than £20 – although you’ll want to leave a big tip for the delightful service.
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£30 - £49
5 Goldhawk Road, London, W12 8QQ
This year Patio celebrated its 30th birthday and – judging by a packed Friday night – there’s no sign the appetite is waning for its budget-priced Polish cooking. The appeal lies in the convivial atmosphere and chirpy owners, and while the food might be rather stodgy, £16.50 buys you three generous courses and a shot of vodka. Cherry-picking the lighter dishes from the starters is wise: perhaps pickled herrings with apple salad, or fish soup. It’s nigh-on impossible to avoid heavy sauces during the main course, whether it’s veal in a wild-mushroom sauce or cod in dill sauce. If you make it to dessert, expect cakes and Polish puddings, best accompanied by yet more vodka.
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£30 - £49
1 Wood Lane, London, W12 7DP
Chef, author, TV presenter and proud west Londoner Allegra McEvedy has re-opened the wine bar and upstairs restaurant which her late mother started in 1978 (and where the first script for EastEnders was written). While the bar is all hustle and bustle, the homely restaurant, with its shelves laden with cookbooks, is an altogether cosier proposition. Bold rustic dishes using well-matched seasonal ingredients sit on a short and keenly-priced menu. Starters of delicate courgette carpaccio with pecorino, pine nuts and chervil, and smoked trout with sublimely seasoned Jersey royals, hits of horseradish and capers, were clean, fresh-tasting plates. To follow, gleaming, perfectly cooked Cornish pollock topped with a tasty salsa verde sitting proudly on a bed of puy lentils was just a pinch of seasoning away from being near perfect, while a well-flavoured hunk of pork shoulder steak combined nicely with rainbow chard, anchovies and baby Jersey royals, although the meat could have been more tender. Finish things off with a little pot of gold in the form of chocolate, cream and salted caramel helped along by some delicious shortbread. A more relaxed menu is available downstairs in the wine bar. To drink, an impressive European-influenced wine list has a cracking selection by the glass, and if you run out then as the sign says, ‘in case of a wine emergency ring the bell’.
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The Havelock Tavern
£30 - £49
57 Masbro Road, London, W14 0LS
With its shimmering blue-tiled frontage and brickwork that matches the surrounding housing, The Havelock Tavern recalls the golden age of British pubs. Times have changed, but the good folk here in Masbro Road have the best of both worlds – a proper pub and somewhere to eat first-rate grub with a modern rustic spin. The interior is opened up and suitably bare (with rough wooden tables and mismatched chairs); the bar is stocked with beers from the likes of Battersea’s Sambrook’s Brewery and Truman’s of east London. Everything, from the bread to the ice cream, is made in-house and the menu crosses international borders with impunity: mussels infused with South-East Asian flavours, Greek lamb rump, and roasted fillet of cod dished up with a white bean and smoked bacon casserole. Then it’s back home for treacle tart with double cream. Outside, the patio garden is a fair-weather friend: another asset of this gem of a pub.
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The Bird in Hand
£30 - £49
88 Masbro Road, London, W14 0LR
Anyone familiar with The Oak in Westbourne Grove will recognise the style at its sibling – a converted, one-time boozer not far from Olympia. Despite its pubby name, The Bird in Hand is essentially a “buzzy” neighbourhood eatery specialising in rustic regional Italian flavours. On offer, you’re likely to find a range of imaginative small plates divided into ‘garden’, ‘sea’, ‘land’ and ‘heaven’ – think wild mushroom arancini with chilli jam, cod croquettes with lime aïoli, lamb rump with black olive, parsley and caper salad or caramel nut tart with pear and praline ice cream. The highly popular, 12-strong line-up of pizzas also “deserves a special mention” (they’re “delicious” says a fan), while the wine list has some robust Italian bottles in addition to decent stuff from elsewhere in Europe. Italian aperitifs, cocktails and proper Italian coffee are also available at the “lovely” bar.
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£30 - £49
70 Askew Road, W12 9BJ
London’s Iranians are prepared to trek across town for a table at this neighbourhood gem. Sufi’s interior may not dazzle – sand-coloured walls, pot plants and shisha pipes set the tone, along with some bizarre artwork – but the food comes in generous portions at low prices. Big bowls of traditional Persian soup kick things off, perhaps alongside some bread and punchy Middle Eastern dips. To follow, the charcoal grill turns out huge, flame-licked kebabs of marinated lamb and chicken, as well as a line-up of fish dishes all expertly cooked over the roaring coals. Hearty stews are there to warm the chillier nights, while Persian ice creams and sorbets offer an alternative to baklava for dessert. Delightful, lightning-fast service helps explain why the restaurant does a roaring trade in takeaways too.
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Shikumen Shepherd's Bush
£30 - £49
Dorsett Hotel, 58 Shepherd's Bush Green, London, W12 8QE
Housed in the Dorsett Hotel, Shikumen’s flagship restaurant has a spacious, stylish dining room set alongside a hand-carved wooden bar where tea, cocktails and saké are served. At lunchtime, try the handmade dim sum as an alternative to the main menu and set lunches. We enjoyed fried golden seafood rolls with mango sauce, prawn and bean curd-skin cheung fun, and colourful xiao long bao dumplings filled with spicy pork or lobster with black truffle. Signature dishes include authentic Peking duck, carved at table and presented as two servings: first stuffed into pancakes and pillowy bao buns (the crisp, savoury skin dipped in icing sugar), followed by a clear, comforting duck-bone broth. Dishes such as meltingly tender Wagyu beef, stone-grilled tableside and served with earthy black truffle oil, add a touch of luxury, while a beautifully presented dragon fruit platter makes a refreshing dessert. An elegant destination for authentic dim sum.
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