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Restaurants, British West Hampstead
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A creative modern British restaurant in West Hampstead.

The arrival of this modern British restaurant has transformed West End Lane in NW6 into a culinary destination. Sentimental locals like myself might yearn for a simpler time – when the most exciting thing you could do in West Hampstead was decorate a mug in Art 4 Fun. But one bite of Hām’s tempura bowl – delicately battered asparagus sunk into a luscious dollop of yellow hollandaise, with just the faintest spike of miso – will cure you of that desire.

It’s a testament to Hām’s quality that, after that first dazzling dish, things never felt like they were going downhill. A starter of salmon in gazpacho was fresh and surprising, while a plate of brilliantly pink raw beef topped with crispy shallots was daringly rich. Of the mains, the highlight was a fatty wedge of saddleback pork served with anchovies and a roasted onion. And all those full, fleshy flavours were lifted by a bed of thinly sliced, sharp cucumber. Touches like that are the secret to Hām’s success: this is luxuriously simple food, but every plate is cut through with something unexpected. Like the lovely yellow grilled loquat fruit that came with my lemon curd and shortbread dessert.

‘Ham’ is the old English for home, and there’s a lot of stuff on its website about being a local, friendly place. Don’t be fooled. This is a proper destination restaurant: relaxed but smart, with service that matches the price point. Which is not cheap. Then again, dining out here is good enough to merit a special occasion.


Address: 238 West End Lane
Transport: West Hampstead rail
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £110.
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