Maida Vale and Queen’s Park don’t exactly spring to mind as the most exciting areas for London dining. They’re largely known for being where people end up when they can’t afford to live in Notting Hill but are too fun to move to Chiswick. However, the area has been keeping pace with the capital’s culinary scene, with a diverse group of excellent restaurants that keep the locals happy. Here’s the pick.Read More
Where to Eat in Maida Vale and Queen’s Park
A charcoal grill institution, a revived French bistro, hand-made pasta, and more
1. The Hero of Maida
This recent addition to Maida Vale from chef Henry Harris is a grand and modern space within a immense Victorian building, and the dining room serves up French bistro food of a standard befitting such elegant surroundings. Calves brains are fried until crisp and rich and served with a sharp caper black butter; Cornish plaice arrives atop a bed of samphire with generous lashings of butter and citrus. The Sunday roasts are also a cut above with huge platters of cote de boeuf, slow cooked shoulder of lamb, and spatchcocked chicken all designed to be shared.
2. Mosob Restaurant
An unassuming restaurant on the Harrow road arguably serves up the best Eritrean food in the capital. Eritrian falafel are perfect spheres lighter, crunchier & better than their middle eastern counterparts, but the main event is the delicious spicy stews piled atop spongy and sour injera, which is then used to enthusiastically scoop it into one’s mouth. The service is warm and attentive, the final coffee ceremony a suitably charming finale.
3. Quince Tree Cafe
A tranquil cafe in the middle of the treasured Clifton Nursery feels straight out of an old-fashioned picturebook. Fittingly, the focus is on British classics made with seasonal produce. Perry poached pear and Colstone Bassett stilton salad is perfectly offset with nutty toasted hazelnuts and bitter endive; the golden scones at the centre of their afternoon tea are light yet sturdy enough to withstand giant dollops of jam and clotted cream.
4. The Summerhouse
A seafood restaurant where one is practically sat in the Regents Canal originally started as a pop-up but proved too popular to close. Best visited on an actual summer’s day where platters of oysters and dressed crab can be shared over a Pimms or seven before a surreptitious snooze behind sunglasses.
5. Tsiakkos & Charcoal
An excellent if somewhat inexplicably decorated Greek restaurant has a devoted following, packing the restaurant to the rafters almost every evening. The highlight of the menu is the slow-grilled pork and the “secret recipe” lamb kelftico. The prized tables are out the back are under a large tarpaulin, where the party atmosphere is at its most intense.
Set on a picturesque mews this modern Persian restaurant is bright and stylish with enthusiastic and warm service. Go heavy on the tempting array of starters, served alongside baked-to-order taftoon flatbreads. No visit would be complete without the kabah torsh, chargrilled lamb breast with pomegranate, walnuts, and young grapes on a sunny heap of saffron rice.
7. Bob's Café Queen's Park
Bob’s is the sort of place one should find exhausting, brimming with lively children and a mind-bending menu which includes nachos alongside miso soup, chicken schnitzel, and Keralan tofu curry. Somehow, this popular Queens Park institution manages to charm the socks off all who enter. The interior is gorgeous, with exposed brick and grass-filled plant pots suspended from the ceiling. The service is genial without being overbearing, and every item on the menu comes perfectly executed and thoughtfully presented.
8. Michiko Sushino
A sushi bar from fashion designer Michiko Koshino is a breath of extremely cool air on the decidedly un-hip Salusbury Road: the dark, industrial, minimalist space serves up flawless rolls and exquisite sushi. The sushi sets are alarmingly good value but best of all are the chirashi bowls, generous assortments of vividly fresh fish piled high on lightly vinegared rice. Miraculously, the atmosphere, with its bass-heavy soundtrack, manages to maintain its chic without tipping over into needless pretension.
A modern Puglian restaurant nestled in between the pilates studios and interior design businesses that populate the achingly middle class Lonsdale road. The fresh orecchiette with cadroncelli mushroom, burette and truffle is every bit as delicious as you dare to hope it will be; the zucchini fritti are a light and crisp joy. The restaurant spills out onto the cobbled street, prime for people watching while enjoying Puglian wine and antipasti alongside a jasmine bush.
10. Milk Beach
A brand new Antipodean delight that fires on multiple cylinders. By day its award winning coffee comes alongside creative brunch dishes like coddled eggs in a jar with cream, sweet potato purée and chives that are destined to appear on a nearby Instagram feed. By night, the focus shifts to natural wines and sharing plates like perfectly whipped taramasalata, Spanish anchovies and Shaoxing poached bass. The wine list focusses on natural wines from small producers, that ingeniously matches each wine to particular dishes.
A longterm local favourite, Ida is always thrumming with satisfied diners, barely an inch of wall peeking out between the Fellini posters, nude oil paintings & family photos. The menu is bemusingly short and the service is chaotic, but the superb hand rolled taglietelle keeps those regulars coming back.