The Hillgate, Notting Hill, another local

This is pretty much the closest pub to home and I've had some good nights in there over the last couple of years. For many years it avoided gentrification so it was a drinkers pub. It attracted a very diverse group of clientele of local residents, students, tourists who got lost looking for Portobello and a fair number of first time drinkers. It made for a very fun atmosphere on a Friday and Saturday night. It did do food but it was a drinkers pub so you wouldn't really want to risk it. I actually quite liked it that way. Not everywhere should feel the need to do food and if you can't do it well then best stick to what you are good at.

About a year ago the owners got into financial trouble and the pub shut which meant changing my Friday night routine. It was bought by the present owners, re-opened, the sky TV was taken out (boo) but it was pretty much as before. I continued to go and so did a lot of the same crowd. It then closed for a proper refurbishment and re-opened in it's current incarnation which is pretty good take on the gastropub. The work had obviously gone into the kitchen as the bar is pretty much as is. It's a nice open room with lots of light so they have wisely avoided cluttering up. It still does the same decent array of drinks and still retains the amateur but charming bar staff.

I popped in the other night with Big Matt to grab a bite and was pleased to see they had put a couple of screens in for the duration of the world cup. We were thus able to eat and watch Spain tonk Honduras. We both went for the burger which was a tenner and came with fries and it has to be said for pub grub it was pretty good. A nice big tasty burger nicely cooked with a thick slice of cheddar on top, plenty of tomato and relish. Superior stuff so I well minded to give the kitchen a proper try out soon. If you are in Notting Hill "The Hillgate" is well worth a try and the food is a million times better than the more popular Windsor Castle. It's a nice quiet spot for a beer and a bite.

Friday, July 02, 2010
Overall rating
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7

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