Sunday, 7 February 2010

Havelock Tavern

57 Masbro Road
London W14 0LS

020 7603 5374

Just west of the railway tracks that come into Kensington Olympia in rather undiscovered territory but quite close to the fashionable Brook Green is the Havelock Tavern. This in my view is one of the best 'restaurants' (its a gastro pub and you pay up front at the bar before you sit down) in nearly Kensington and much better than Cibo, Kitchen W8 and other restaurants I have reviewed on the other side of the tracks. In my Kensington league only Abingdon and L-Restaurant and Bar can compete on food of the restaurants I have reviewed so far. Both are more expensive and have a more formal restaurant style. Foodie bloggers (there are surprisingly to date no blog reviews on London Urban Spoon) you should check this place out!

I have braised octopus, chorizo, tomato & fennel stew with gremolada £14. It is herby ,spicy, garlicky, the octopus not chewy tough; lovely stock and strong flavours. There is the lemon zest of the gremolada and a strong fishy stock. It is not quite in the same class as the Brompton fish stew at Brompton Bar & Grill nor as copious; it is very different with one fish variety (the octopus). It is very good all the same. I try L.O.'s (this is what I plan to call my partner, see link to Loved One for explanation) slow roast belly of pork with bramley apple sauce, £15. She has already pronounced it succulent delicious, the crackling a shade flabby. I agree; it is excellent if not quite in the same league as that at Fino but we are making olympic comparisons here! You get very good thrown in bread and butter, and real pepper grinders without asking.

The Havelock at Sunday lunch is a very family affair. There are babies and labradors. It is a bit startlingly public school, white apartheid in the Fulham, Battersea mode (gastro pubs in these areas strictly for these immigrants however long they have been there), unlevened by the more cosmo and older mix of Notting Hill and even Kensington & Chelsea. We have a very good one course meal for two with a couple of pints of Cornish bitter (Doom Bar) for £36. A fault is the overhead blower heaters particularly close to the door. The seats nearby are empty when we arrive no doubt for this reason but the whole place is full by the time we leave. No booking so if you do go for Sunday lunch turn up before 1pm to get a choice of tables.

Havelock Tavern on Urbanspoon

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