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SquareMeal Review of Julie's

Bronze Award

One of London’s original celebrity restaurants (Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney, Kate Moss and Princess Diana) closed its doors for a six-month refurb in 2015 and finally opened them again at the end of 2019, just in time for its 50th anniversary.

Anyone old enough to remember what Julie’s used to look like may mourn the re-location of the atmospheric warren of places to eat to one dining room in the basement, though the good news is that the ground-floor bar remains one of the few grown-up places for a drink in Holland Park that isn’t a scuzzy pub.

Original owners Tim and Cathy Herring asked the original Julie, designer Julie Hodgess, to oversee the new look. Hodgess has retained a handful of the famous design details such as the gothic wood carvings and the scale model of the Albert Memorial, while the secretive, enclosed booths that line the wall recall the notorious table G1, the curtained-off space christened the G-spot for being the naughtiest place in Notting Hill.   

Arguably the biggest change is on the food front, with new chef-patron Shay Cooper bringing some of the razzle-dazzle from his Michelin-starred gigs at The Bingham and The Goring to Julie’s semi-open kitchen.

We enjoyed everything we ate, but couldn’t help but feel that the likes of a muscovado sponge with caramel mousse adorned with a delicate pastry spiral, or a tiny portion of roast cod, felt too dressed up for what is at the end of the day a casual local – though there was no faulting the fish’s deliciousness, beautifully cooked to flaky fall-apartness and contrasted with slices of firm cuttlefish.

Kale risotto topped with white crab meat was greener than a juice from a Notting Hill wellness clinic; ox cheek with veal tongue and deep-fried smoked cauliflower delivered a different sort of well-being, the kind that can only be induced by rich ingredients. Best of all was buttermilk chicken, crisp fried and with a white miso emulsion for dipping.

Like its clientele, Julie’s hard-partying days may be in the past, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the loveliness of the setting in traffic-free Clarendon Cross, where an outside table will always be a star spot to reminisce about the good old days.  

About Julie's

If the walls could talk at long-standing Julie’s, we’re sure they’d have plenty to say. The restaurant originally opened its doors in 1969 and quickly gained a reputation as an A-list hotspot, with famous faces such as Kate Moss, Tina Turner and even Diana, Princess of Wales having walked through the doors.

In 2015, the restaurant closed to undergo a refurbishment and was expected to reopen within a few months. However, construction issues and a battle with Kensington and Chelsea council delayed proceedings, meaning that Julie’s didn’t open again until the autumn of 2019, around the time of its 50th birthday, with chef Shay Cooper heading up the kitchen. Cooper used to oversee The Dining Room at Belgravia’s Goring hotel and at Julie’s he’s championing a menu of what he calls “modern British” dishes.

While diners at the former Julie’s might have enjoyed the decadent likes of lobster risotto, nowadays the menu features more pared-back options, although the food is just as hearty – think glazed ox cheek or aged sirloin of beef. The new iteration also features a Champagne bar, which is an upgrade of the former wine bar.

Wondering about the name? It stems from the original owner Julie Hodgess, an interior designer who kitted out the restaurant with its distinctly eccentric look. In 1972, she sold Julie’s to its current owners, husband and wife duo Tim and Cathy Herring. However, Hodgess has been tempted back to help out with the interiors once again, with several of the original design elements remaining, including the famous Gothic wood carvings.

It’s yet to be seen whether Julie’s can once again pull in London’s It crowd and achieve the same level of notoriety that made its name years ago, but with a respected chef at the helm and a new look, it seems that for the first time, the food here might be worth talking about more than the guest list.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cosy, Glamorous, Quiet conversation, Quirky, Romantic, Traditional, Unique
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Birthdays, Celebrations, Celeb-spotting, Dates, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

Location for Julie's

135 Portland Road, Holland Park, London, W11 4LW

020 7229 8331


Opening Times

Mon 12:00-14:30
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat 12:00-14:30
Sun Closed
Mon 18:00-22:00
Tue 18:00-22:00
Wed 18:00-22:00
Thu 18:00-22:00
Fri 18:00-22:00
Sat 18:00-22:00
Sun Closed

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