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Naga, High St Kensington

Another free night out with my lovely wife and this time we were much better organised. A friend had tipped me off about a new Chinese just off High Street Kensington so with Baby G being looked after by his grandparents we had a rare Saturday night out at "Naga". It is on Abingdon Road which is a bit of a culinary hotspot and based on our evening here it can definetly hold it's head high. The restaurant definetly makes the most of it's odd layout. You enter through a small bar area and then down into a stunning long corridor conservatory with an added balcony mezzanine level. It is a wonderful layout and gives you the impression you are miles away from High St Kensington. We arrived at 7:45 and the restaurant was already busy. The manager showed us to a nice round table at the back and handed us an interesting looking cocktail menu. They specialise in Asian cocktails here which again gives the place a holiday feel.

The restaurant is actually Vietnamese but also covers some of the Chinese favourites like crispy duck etc. It also explained on the menu that their selection is limited as everything is cooked fresh to order. With a couple of nice cocktails on the table we ordered some mixed starters to kick off. These were very nice, succulent ribs, some very sweet mawish seaweed, Vietnamese spring roll with dipping vinegar and some lovely lightly battered squid. All of it delicious and indeed fresh. To follow we had some beef Ho fun, crispy duck in five spice sauce, jumbo tamarind prawns, rice and Chinese broccoli. It was seriously good. The prawns were the star of the show, big juicy and coated in a delicious sauce. I also really enjoyed the duck, we usually have the shredded duck but this had the crispiness but with the added tang of the five spice. My lovely wife washed this down with a delicious lychee concoction whilst I had a very interesting chilli savoury cocktail.

They don't have a dessert menu as such but do do ice cream so we shared a bowl of lychee and mango ice cream which was really refreshing. All in all it was lovely evening at a restaurant I can see becoming a firm favourite. By the time we finished our meal the place was packed. This did lead to one problem as the table next to us of bonus boys on a night out took exception to waiting for their meal and walked out. They had been sampling extensively from the cocktail list which might explain their reaction to the wait. The other tables I must say looked very happy and well looked after. I don't think this place has been open long but it looked like it already had regulars which is a good sign. Our meal for two came to just over £100 which was high but we had been drinking cocktails. I thought it was a fair price for our evening it such a nice place.

However they did let themselves badly with the bill. It wasn't properly itemised but they did staple on the order counterfoil so you had an idea of what you were charged for though not the amounts. However the really big problem was they tried to double tap me for service charge, 12.5% on the bill and then asked about adding a gratuity when I paid by card. A real no no in my book. I really hope they read this and stop this practice as this is a really nice smart restaurant and it's customers deserve better. All in all a superb night though and I really want to go back. It's a real asset to Kensington and I can see why it has done well so quickly.

Monday, April 11, 2011
Overall rating
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8

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