Kensington, London

Posted on 24th Nov 2012 by ian under Travel Tales | No Comments »

rydges kensington londonOur base in London was Rydges in Kensington (four grand terraces that had just been recently refurbished).

It has a good little restaurant called the Jam Cupboard and a bar/lounge off the lobby called The Polo Bar. Rydges just manages the property for the owner, a young guy called Ali from Dubai who also happens to own the Dubai Polo Club. The photos in the bar are from his horse hobby.  One gets the feeling that his investment in the Rydges property came from change found down the back of the couch – he also bought seven terraces nearby and gutted them to make one large apartment for when he is in town.

Light of India KensingtonA couple of doors down Gloucester Road is an excellent Indian eatery called Light of India and we dined there the first night.

Resident chef, Kumar, has been there for 15 years and he knows his stuff. They dished up terrific mild, spicy, tasty curries with attentive service.

We had the table on the left, looking out to the street. It still was light into the evening.

On the final night in London we discovered the rather excellent Da Mario.

Da Mario is a short stroll the other way up Gloucester Road towards Kensington Palace.  It is a family-run Italian restaurant with terrific pizza and pasta dishes plus very good value for the quality.

I mention Kenso Palace because of the royal connection – the building is 120 years old and was commissioned by then resident Queen Victoria. A more recent resident, Princess Diana, often took kiddies William and Harry to Da Mario for a treat in the ‘real world’. Next year Wills and Kate make the palace home and I reckon they won’t be able to resist.

Da Mario restaurant LondonThe ambience is quirky and delightful (from teddy bears to a carved naked woman to an oil painting of the chef with Princess Diana), the service is friendly and attentive (they don’t mind a chat) and the meals fabulous.  I ordered the Gameroni Aglio Olio e Peperocino (three king prawns sizzling in garlic and mild chilli oil with fresh chopped parsley) – this was £7.90 (AUD$12.50) – and for a main, the Spaghetti Apore di Mare (al dente pasta with squid, baby prawns, mussels, a king prawn, octopus, white wine, cherry tomatoes and parsley) – £14.50 ($22.80). Worked out around $40 a head with drinks which is pretty good for dining out in a posh part of town.