Quartieri

Area Guide: Kilburn

Just Opened London’s Area Guides cover a combination of recently opened venues and established London favourites, to make sure you get the full lowdown on where to spend your time and hard-earned cash.

Carving a straight line through North West London (or Norf Weezy as it is known by postcode gangs), Kilburn High Road, aka the Celtic Watling Street, is always busy. It was paved by the Romans and runs along a route stretching from Marble Arch to Edgware. The division between Brent and Camden separates each side of the High Road.

Kilburn High Road

Post-war, this was an Irish area jocularly known as County Kilburn, and it is said that Kilburn was the distance that an Irishman arriving at Euston station could walk in one day. Recently, accents down the High Road tend to be more from Africa and Eastern Europe. Kilburn is a transient area, consisting of renters and city workers hugging the Jubilee line rather than families. It retains an inner city atmosphere, not yet being gentrified, despite the price of property. Shops and delicatessens selling Romanian, Hungarian, Turkish, Polish and Czech food line the A5.

Recently, there has been a flurry of new restaurant openings; here is our guide to both new and old…

Asparagus Summers

Photo: Kerstin Rodgers

Summers

This newly opened restaurant by former St. John chef Ruairidh Summers boasts local seasonal ingredients drawing upon his Irish heritage. We ate asparagus with crab butter, freshly baked soda bread and a rhubarb fool, afterwards digging into an Irish cheese plate featuring Cashel Blue, Durrus, Rubeen and Mossfield. They also stock a selection of gluten free beers.

Downstairs is the Sir Colin Campbell pub, which has good draught beer and live Irish music on the weekends.

Summers 264 – 266 Kilburn High Road, NW6 2BY


 

Quartieri

Quartieri

Neapolitan style is the latest incarnation of the ever popular pizza: thin, wood-fired, slow-risen and using only San Marzano tomatoes. Quartieri is a disciple of Pizzeria Trianon Vomero, Naples second most popular pizzeria after L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele (which has opened a branch in Stoke Newington). The best ingredients are used: flour, olive oil, tomatoes and house wine from their own vineyard in Gragnano.

Quartieri, 300 Kilburn High Road, NW6 2DB


The Sweet Spot

The Sweet Spot

Stemming from an American chain, The Sweet Spot call themselves a 1950’s themed ice cream parlour. We were very impressed with their Italian gelato, iced yoghurts, sundaes, hot waffles and ‘cold stone’ ice creams. The latter is where ice cream is scraped on a frozen granite stone with additions such as fruit and nuts blended in (pictured).

The Sweet Spot , 284 Kilburn High Road, NW6 2DD


German Doner Kebab

Photo: Kerstin Rodgers

German Doner Kebab

A kebab shop with a difference, these are served in a kind of waffle. We ordered a vegetarian doner, which was pretty good, especially if you ask for ‘all the sauces’. They boast of their fresh meat imported from Germany. This chain is set to grow.

German Doner Kebab , 304 Kilburn High Road, NW6 2DB


Sweet and Savoury

Photo: Kerstin Rodgers

Sweet and Savoury

This Iranian Bakery does great coffee and fresh home baked pastries (particularly the Persian style) and croissants and there’s free wifi and a sofa to sit on while you wait.

Sweet and Savoury, 237 Kilburn High Road, NW6 7JN


Istanbul Mangal

Istanbul Mangal

Excellent fresh food comes in generous portions at this large Turkish restaurant. The vegetarian meze is great: a verdant tabouleh was one of the best we’ve ever eaten. People rave about the chicken shish and lamb kofte and bread and sauces come with every meal. It’s cheap, too.

Istanbul Mangal, 363 Kilburn High Rd, London NW6


Vijay

Photo: Kerstin Rodgers

Vijay

Just off the Kilburn High Road on Willesden Lane, Vijay is one of the best southern Indian restaurants in London. We love the uthappam (pictured), a fermented crumpet-y bread with chillies on top; the dosas; the vadai (savoury doughnuts); green banana curry and various other regional specialities. It’s one of the oldest Indian restaurants, dating from the 60s, with a sauna style orange pine interior. It’s always packed.

Vijay, 49 Willesden Lane, London, NW6 7RF


Kerstin Rodgers

MsMarmitelover’s The Underground Restaurant

A pioneering supper club, which opened in January 2009, sparking a movement. Expect creative cooking, generous portions, a fantastic atmosphere and themed meals in Kerstin Rodgers’ living room. The food is pescatarian/vegetarian.

MsMarmiteLover’s The Underground Restaurant. Address on booking but near to Kilburn tube.


Barraco

Photo: Kerstin Rodgers

Barraco Cafe

We really enjoyed the Brazilian food at this friendly and popular restaurant. The feijoada is authentic and the rice and beans are simple but fresh and flavourful, with a palm heart salad on the side. Highly recommended are their exotic fruit shakes at £2.50 each: we tried a soursop and a cashew shake. On Friday and Saturday evenings, they have live bossa nova music and if there is good weather you can sit outside.

Barraco Cafe, 10 Kingsgate Place, NW6 4TA


Small and Beautiful

Small and Beautiful

Alex the owner from Istria took this restaurant over in 2011 (before which time it had the same formulaic menu for years) and the menu now features classic Italian and Croatian food. They do a fantastic spaghetti vongole, served with clams on the shell.

Small and Beautiful, 351 Kilburn High Road, NW6 7QB


The Little Bay

The Little Bay

This very cheap local restaurant with a French menu and frankly bizarre decor (gothic with strange ‘Swiss’ chalet-style Juliet balconies) has been a Kilburn fixture since 1992. Owner Peter Ilic from Yugoslavia was a pioneer in offering affordable eating out – he used to own a ‘pay what you want’ restaurant in Finchley Road nearby. The Little Bay in Kilburn was the first of this small chain of restaurants. They do a 3-course menu for around £13, prices are more expensive after 7pm.

The Little Bay, 228 Belsize Road, NW6 4BT