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Paradise By Kensal Rise, er Kensal Rise, another NCT group hit

Right at the very end of Ladbroke Grove, past the Sainsbury's lies a restored victorian gin palace. Paradise by Way of Kensal Green may be a mouthful but it is a suitably grand name for a rather impressive gastro pub. From the outside it looks quite dark and gothic but step through it's doors and you are greeted by a light airy room with lots of light coloured furniture. It's not just a case of someone restoring an old pub but adding to it. you could compare it to the interior of "Beach Blanket Babylon" but this has none of it's pretension and the service was a whole heap better. We ended up here as part of our NCT class catch up. One of the couples had taken refuge here in need of restoration after the trauma of the 3 hour breastfeeding class a few weeks ago. We had all met up at "the Cow" on Sunday and wanting to make the most of the calm before the storm we decided to meet up again here last night.

Gastro pub dining rooms can be a bit of an afterthough, too many places think that plonking down assorted wooden tables in the back room allows you to charge £15 for sausage and mash. Here they take a lot more pride. The back room was light and airy, the tables well laid out and some good staff on hand to look after us. They bought us jugs of tap water unprompted and kept refilling them which gets a big thumbs up from me. Obviously the girls weren't drinking whilst the guys had a moderate tipple. I was impressed with the standard of "Bombardier" they served and the house cab sab we had was OK but not outstanding. We weren't rushed to order and they were very good about pushing through the order of one of our party who got delayed at work.

Some of the girls had an whole baked artichoke which they really seemed to enjoy, clean plates denotes happy mum's to be. 2 of the chaps went with the roast chicken which was by all accounts good. One girl had the stir fried quinoa which was an interesting departure from the usual gastro pub vegetarian option. My lovely wife had a very good bit of pan fried plaice. a decent sized piece perfectly cooked. I went for the ribeye and triple cooked chips. I was a little dissapointed as though the steak looked great it lacked a bit of seasoning and was rare rather than the medium rare I ordered. However the dish was saved by the lovely mustard butter and the great chips.

We were having such a nice time chatting away that it seemed only right to indulge in some desert. I shared a pretty good Knickerbocker Glory with my wife, the sticky toffee pudding went down very well with one couple though the chocolate mousse was a bit underwelming for another of our party. All in all a really nice meal and made all the better by some nice service. The chef came out to deliver most of his dishes and the waiter was on hand with water and wine whenever needed. This made the evening go very smoothly so even a slightly longer wait for desert passed very pleasantly.

The bill came to £50 a couple which was pretty good going. I've been wanting to try here for a while and it didn't dissapoint. I was impressed with how friendly the staff were especially compared to some places down the road in Notting Hill. This had the style but also bags of substance. I'm looking forward to going back I especially liked the sound of their Bloody Mary club though I'm not sure how well boozy Sundays will mix with fatherhood!

Thursday, March 25, 2010
Overall rating
Food 7 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8

Taqueria, Westbourne Grove

Il Pizzaolio, Bond St, great little italian