Considered the chilled little sister oh Harlesden, Kensal Green has an arty, bohemian feel (Kensal Green Cemetery, just over the Kensington & Chelsea border, was a fashionable final resting place for Victorian writers and artists, as well as a number of modern-day celebs) and its cosy, compact terraces appeal to young professionals who can’t afford Notting Hill. Kensal Rise, a few streets east, has blossomed in recent years, with most of the retail action at the north end of College Road where there's a bijou, middle-class vibe, with delis, alternative-medicine treatment rooms and quirky boutiques. Restaurants, cafés and gastropubs also do a roaring trade. Further east, Willesden High Road offers an array of restaurants, shops and takeaways.
Love London Awards: this year's winners
Restaurants in Kensal Green and Willesden
Note: We're open as a cafe Monday-Friday daytime, with a street food menu - and Thursday - Saturday evenings for restaurant service. We don't take reservations for daytimes - so just walk on in! We’re the UK’s first kitchen incubator, helping London’s most promising and original food entrepreneurs to get started. In partnership with top British designer Tom Dixon, our restaurant takes over the intimate space downstairs from The Dock Kitchen - looking right over the dock waters. The focus is affordable, informal concepts from world over - a short street food menu, served up on small plates, alongside our natural wine list picked by Tutto. This month's residency: Kushi's Japanese Tacos: umami-filled crispy gyoza shells, with yuzu kosho grilled chicken, red miso ox cheek, and seasonal greens.
Things to do in Kensal Green and Willesden
Bars and pubs in Kensal Green and Willesden
Hotel restaurants don’t always scream character, but this laid-back Italian in the Sheraton on Piccadilly almost makes you forget you’re within stumbling distance of a few hundred quietly buzzing minibars. Sitting somewhere between upscale deli-café and full-on restaurant, Mercante has a punchy, concise menu, allowing you to choose whether to snack or stuff yourself silly. Dive straight in to large helpings of rib of beef and rabbit, or graze on smaller plates like I did. The young staff are lively and helpful: clearly passionate about food. My waiter had even made the house limoncello himself, which was exciting to hear but came with a downside. Call me naïve, but when a waiter offers you a limoncello ‘to try’, wouldn’t you expect it to be free? Not here – our ‘yes’ meant £10 being added to our bill. Suddenly it felt like I was very much in a hotel – the sort that charges for wi-fi and punishes you for drinking over-priced mineral water in the middle of the night. It was a silly mistake, but it left a very un-limoncello sour taste in the mouth after an otherwise fun meal.
Venue says: “Have a taste of an Italian summer. Enjoy our traditional homespun recipes on our newly-opened terrace facing Green Park.”