Alexandrie, Kensington

I am not sure I have ever (knowingly) eaten Egyptian food before. Recently I travelled to Kensington to try Alexandrie, a restaurant which has had a revamp and now offers a taste of Egypt in a glamorous dining room. Tucked away on Kensington Church Street, with barely a sign to indicate its whereabouts, it would be easy to walk straight past Alexandrie.


My grandparents and I sat in a lovely window table which I was pleased to find had plenty of natural light for my photographs. The small dining room was filled with neatly arranged white table-clothed tables, bright gaudy artworks and glitzy chandeliers, a strange mix of design features which made the eatery feel rather dated. There was only one other table occupied in the small restaurant which sadly meant the lack of atmosphere was rather obvious throughout our meal.

The quiet but helpful waiter handed out the lunch offer for the day, a very confusingly laid out list of vegan, vegetarian, fish and meat options, priced at £13.95 for two courses (+ £4.95 for additional dessert). We opted for a mix of the vegetable and meat dishes, so I could sample a range of the chef’s specialities.

To start we had a platter of Hummus, baba ganoush and aubergine salad which was pleasant but a little uninspiring. The soups however, were delicious. Cream of cauliflower was wonderfully smooth and creamy, with a sprinkle of fragrant spices and earthy truffle oil. Red Lentil soup was our favourite, a perfectly comforting winter dish, with a hint of lemon balm and lovely seasoning from the garlic croutons.


The main courses arrived very promptly… with so few people to serve I guess the chef was able to make the food very efficiently. These plates looked less appetising, especially the Chicken roulade, which tasted nice but looked a mess on the plate. Ratatouille with grilled halloumi was a simple dish ideal for vegetarians. The Lamb okra with saffron rice was the least successful, a dry meat dish cooked with sloppy pieces of okra which didn’t add any flavour.

To drink with our meal we chose a bottle of the 2013 Chene Bleu rose wine, which was a hit at our table. A lovely rose wine that was both delicate and balanced, it would complement any lunchtime meal.


Desserts were an education in Egyptian sweet recipes. Mehalabeya was a delicious, palate-cleansing milk pudding with crunchy candied pistachios on top. The second dessert, named Omali was extremely odd. It was described on the menu as a crisp filo pastry baked in a rich cream with a touch of vanilla, topped with baked almond flakes… but it didn’t really taste of any of those ingredients, apart from the toasted almonds, which were piled high on top. There was a lack of natural sweetness and the texture, under-baked pastry soaked in milk, was quite unappealing.

The lunch menu at Alexandrie is good value, the lack of atmosphere and hit-or-miss dishes left me wondering if this restaurant is more dependable for an evening meal.

More information and book a table at Alexandrie Restaurant here.

Weekend Brunch at Theo’s Simple Italian

At the weekend I had the opportunity to visit Hotel Indigo Kensington for a taste of the new Theo’s Simple Italian weekend brunch menu. This stylish, contemporary hotel is conveniently tucked away minutes away from Earl’s Court station, but feels sheltered from the tourist trail.

Theo's Simple ItalianTheo's Simple Italian

The restaurant, Theo’s Simple Italian, is bright and modern with patterned floors and colourful furniture, an Instagrammer’s dream. The group of bloggers wandered round, with Bellini’s in hand, taking photos of every detail.

Theo's Simple Italian

Before the feast began we had the chance to watch the master chef at work, as he demonstrated how to make the best homemade pasta. I few tips I took away from the lesson: smaller eggs tend to have brighter better yolks, buy a pasta machine from Imperia (£40 on Amazon), cook the pasta al dente and finish cooking in with the sauce. As a pasta lover myself I volunteered to help with the ravioli making, I vowed to myself to spend more time mastering the techniques at home.

Theo's Simple ItalianTheo's Simple Italian

The new brunch menu is designed for sharing. Priced at £35 per person it includes a glass of prosecco on arrival, an anti-pasti platter, a dish of fresh pasta or risotto, a seasonal meat or fish dish and dessert.

Highlights for me included the creamy burrata with proscuitto di Parma, Pappardelle con ragu di manzo (slow cooked beef in Chianti and San Marzano tomatoes) and Theo’s famous, vibrant yellow, Amalfi lemon tart, which lasted barely a minute on our table! The whole meal was paired with delicious Italian wines, carefully chosen by the sommelier.

Good, relaxed Italian food is not easy to find in London, but Theo Randall ticks every box with this generous and flavoursome brunch. Book a room at Hotel Indigo so you can enjoy a European siesta after gorging on the wonderful Italian cuisine.

More information and book a table here.

Dirty Bones, Kensington

A hidden den serving hot dogs and cocktails sounds very much like an East London venture, Dirty Bones however brings the grime and groove to West London’s elite.

With a few notable characters in the Dirty Bones team including Ross Clarke, of Fat Duck fame, there has been much hype about this Kensington opening. The name has perhaps been detrimental to its initial reputation, liable to be confused with similarly titled outlets – Dirty Burger, Bones in Dalston, Bone Daddies, and Fishbone.

From the American diner style exterior, you are led to believe this is just a retro takeaway joint, indeed during the day that is exactly what it is… but at night the camouflaged door leads down to a bright neon lit, vintage-styled drinks and dogs den. An old pinball machine is the welcoming desk and a scruffy drinks dispenser is a secret door through to a dining area. Cocktails are served in the bar, there is a selection of creative long and short drinks. I particularly enjoyed the Mutt’s Nuts: a smoky warming combination of Woodford Reserve and vanilla infused maple syrup, lemon and apple juice. For a pre-dinner tipple, the sugary sweet Big Apple is a caramelised treat.

There is a limited selection of fast food: dogs, bones, sides and salads. Dogs are available in different meats with the choice of pork, beef or veggie sausage. We tried the Mexican with a pork sausage, it comes with pulled pork, cactus salsa, lime sour cream and guacamole. It was a nice balance of soft brioche style bun and meaty, spicy filling. The crispy, spiced fried chicken is a must-try, tender chicken thighs and wings coated in an addictive crunchy coating and spritzed with charred lemon. Fries were a massive disappointment however – a tiny portion of limp supermarket-type chips, but glazed sweetcorn is a tasty alternative.

You’ll want to steal the playlist from the sound system, it comes from miracle music man Rob Wood of Music Concierge. It is a carefully curated soundtrack which adds to the character of the place and will make you want to dance whether you’re sitting or standing.

In the first weeks of service a few discrepancies can be forgiven, though Dirty Bones did try my patience. We waited for over an hour for a table, and nearly another for the food and then got asked to move to a neighbouring table. The embarrassed waiter apologised profusely and offered complimentary cocktails, but the hanging around was a tad tiresome.

Big groups can book at Dirty Bones, which I would definitely recommend. The venue is thoughtfully designed and the vibe is painfully trendy; better still, the food and drinks are tasty and reasonably priced. The grungy retro look definitely encourages a cool crowd and I feel blessed that my side of town finally has a desirable dive.

More information here: