Maggie Jones, High St Ken, good bistro fayre

It was meant to be a date night at the cinema but I really didn't fancy 3 hours of Leonardo DiCaprio's bad acting so instead we decided to pop out for a meal. Grandma was looking after a very excited baby G so we made a sharp exit and wandered down Kensington Church St. My lovely wife had been to Kensington stalwart Maggie Jones previously and enjoyed it so she bagged us their last table for dinner. I had always been a little reluctant to go there, not due to anything I heard about it but the fact it was a stable mate of my absolute favourite London restaurant 'La Poule au Pot'. In the days before baby G my lovely wife and I would go there for their fantastic set price lunch nearly every weekend. The rustic French menu, the cheeky French waiters, the magnums of house wine, we loved it. I was worried that their Kensington outpost might not live up to the gem of Pimlico. As it turned out I needn't have worried. We enjoyed a cracking 3 course meal in convivial surroundings.

Maggie Jones is built into a townhouse but all the dark wood gives it a touch of the ski lodge. The dining takes places over 3 floors, we were on the ground floor. The stairs up and down are a touch vintage so need care, we saw a girl in ridiculous Laboutin's take a slide down the stairs. Our table was half a booth and light by candle which gave it a nice romantic feel. We ordered a Kir and shandy to kick off the evening which were OK but perhaps not as good as La Poule au Pot's efforts. Matters improved with the food though. Feeling wintery we both started with soup. My lovely wife had a delicious smooth and creamy mushroom soup of the day. I went for the classic onion soup and it was fantastic, sometimes I've had it where the onions aren't cooked down enough giving me terrible indigestion but this was spot on. Soft onions in a well balanced broth with the cheesy crouton on top. Top stuff. To follow my lovely wife went for her favourite Guinea Fowl with arrived beautifully roasted and wrapped in bacon. It was a good portion so she had trouble finishing it all. I decided to try one of their specials, the intriguing sounding steak and mango. What was served up was a very rich, very tasty beef stew. The sauce was made with mango and some other spices to produce a sort of colonial curry, in that it had bags of flavour but no heat. It was delicious, really different and from what I gathered a real favourite with regulars. They don't provide sides with the mains so we ordered some spinach and cauliflower cheese on the side. I probably should have asked for some rice with mine. We washed all this down with the very decent house wine served in magnums where they charge you for what you drink like La Poule au Pot.

The menu here has more of an English bent as shown by the desserts so we shared a terrific sherry trifle and my lovely wife had an Irish coffee. This was a very good meal indeed and at £125 for two of us really good value for the area. It's a great place to enjoy a hearty meal and watch fellow punters. There was an intriguing mix here. A smattering of tourist from the nearby hotels. Well heeled locals on a night out, the more elderly of them being treated to a meal out with their families. However it also seemed to be a hot spot for the local Hugo's and Piers to take their latest squeezes on a date, hence the aforementioned Laboutin girl. It made for a really nice naturally buzzy atmosphere. As we were near the entrance I also overheard that many of our fellow diners were regulars, a good sign. Service was good though didn't quite have the gallic charm & flair of La Poule au Pot. We had a great night and it's nice to find another old school restaurant like Chez Patrick local to us. There is a reason a place like Maggie Jones has been going so long and it was exemplified by our great meal.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Overall rating
Food 9 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8

Been back since and it is a nice place but not in the same league as La Poule au Pot

Bone Daddies, Soho, Emperors New Clothes

Sun & 13 Cantons, Soho, they regularly have different pop ups doing food in their kitchen