Eat Lunch Fit for Royalty in Kensington

You will not be disappointed with lunch, or dinner, in Kensington and Chelsea and you will definitely be spoilt for choice. There is something for everyone in this place. The borough has a history of immigration, although different from the east of the capital. In the fifties and sixties, folks from the Caribbean made the areas around Ladbroke Grove their home, so there are plenty of tasty stalls up and down Portobello where you can find some scrumptious lunches. The upmarket nature of the borough means that you can rub shoulders with ladies, and men, who lunch, and pop in to Bibendum for exquisitely dressed food, light salads, or even oysters. If you want to try Persian, one of the best Iranian restaurants in the capital can be found in Notting Hill, Alounak. At Harrods food hall, you can take your pick from fairy cakes, to fresh fish, with everything in between. If you just can't tear yourself away from Harvey Nichols and all its floors of treasure, then why not just swish up to the fifth floor and eat some organic food in their well appointed restaurant. As you are heading back into town, you might be tempted by a late lunch, or afternoon tea at the Lanesborough Hotel, or if you have already lightened your wallet enough with shopping, then you might stop by at Bumpkin for healthy nutritious fare.


London's world-famous department store, Harrods has been a city fixture since it opened in 1849. Impeccable service and a wonderful, diverse selection have earned the store a place in the hearts of Londoners. Although prices are somewhat steep, they're attached to quality merchandise, including apparel, toys, home furnishings and groceries. Plus, twice-yearly sales make things more accessible to budget-minded shoppers. Cultivating a bit of spectacle in Harrods are the Egyptian Room and a memorial to Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed, owner Mohammed's son. It gets busy at Christmas but is definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in London at that time of year, as it's Christmas tree and window displays are a delight. TUBE: Knightsbridge

Recommended for Kensington's Best Lunch because: Harrods food hall is second to none, a great place to hang out and nibble lunch from fairy cakes to fresh fish and oysters.

Emma's expert tip: Harrods is London's most famous store, and not to be missed on any shopping itinerary, even if you just pop in and buy a jar of marmalade to take home.

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Favored especially by fashion-conscious folks, this well-regarded department store is known for its propensity towards designer labels. Begun in 1813, the enterprise offers a wealth of men's and women's apparel, not to mention a strong home furnishings section and fantastic beauty department. Personal shopping services and a salon allow customers to be pampered even further, and a restaurant, cafe and bar on the top floor provide welcome respite in the midst of busy shopping sprees. The restaurant serves amazing food now, as it has all been recently revamped, and just outside is a food hall where you can pick up not only luxury food, but lovely kitchen ware to try and recreate the feel of the place at home too. TUBE: Knightsbridge

Recommended for Kensington's Best Lunch because: Harvey Nichols has a brilliant restaurant on the fifth floor, fresh locally sourced food, beautifully executed.

Emma's expert tip: Harvey Nichols featured heavily in the TV show "absolutely fabulous" and it really is a fabulous store. Again, Christmas is a great time to go, with lights, sparkle and gifts a plenty.

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When your appetite calls for something exotic, this upscale eatery is more than equal to the task. Specializing in South India's tropical fare, Quilon sports a bright, cheerful decor highlighted by lush greenery, soft lighting, and a light-stained wainscot. Discerning diners are tantalized by the fiery masala; seared seabass cooked in tomato with chopped button onions, lime juice and chilli; and guinea fowl stew with onion, green chilli and coconut milk. You really are transported when you enter this restaurant with tropical tastes and flavours that can't fail to disappoint. The light cuisine is also perfect for lunch.TUBE: St. James's Park

Recommended for Kensington's Best Lunch because: Quilon does South Indian cuisine brilliantly, so it's perfect for lunch, light and tasty.

Emma's expert tip: This is a great place for dinner too, where you will be bathed in warm light and transported to tropical climes.

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Notting Hill

As currently trendy Notting Hill rushes by outside, the interior of this fun and funky establishment aims to create the feel of a country cafe. Whether that aim is achieved or not is subjective, but most agree that the (very)Anglo-(somewhat)French fare is a winner. Much of the produce used here comes fresh from markets every day and there's a nice line in organic booze. Scoring particularly high on its traditional British roasts, this is a great place to chill out and eat well. Bumpkin is a chain, but that means that you can get slightly cheaper eating, and guaranteed tastes in an expensive part of town, for a standard price.

Recommended for Kensington's Best Lunch because: Bumpkin, as a chain restaurant, covers the slightly cheaper end of the lunch market, with good organic produce.

Emma's expert tip: You don't need to book, just turn up and wait for a table.

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Assaggi means, trying in the plural, and that's just want you can do at this delicious restaurant. You'll need to book early to get a table at this well-known spot, whose authentic Italian fare is served simply but with style, and is considered by many to be the best in London. Starters include buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes atop thinly sliced fresh bread (called "carta di musica," or music paper) -unadorned but superb, which is the way Italian cooking should be, all about the ingredients. Fresh crab with olive oil and lettuce is also basic but delicious, as are pastas, including homemade noodles with a selection of fresh herbs and crushed walnut. TUBE: Notting Hill Gate

Recommended for Kensington's Best Lunch because: Assaggi is perfect for trying out new Italian tastes in the heart of London.

Emma's expert tip: Make sure you book a table, this is a popular spot.

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This is home style cooking for London. The restaurant says it models itself on 19th Century crabshacks which popped up all along the American Gulf Coast at the time. This is all about a simple easy going lifestyle. Where people hang out on beaches and eat crab and barbecued food, with salt and sand in their hair, having a good time with their friends. There is live music too to try and transport you from London's posh Kings road, to this American homestyle myth. Big Easy's signature dishes include Fresh Maine 1kg/2lb Lobster, Fresh Crab & Shrimp, Charolais Beef, The Classic Chophouse Burger, Surf & Turf and Real Home-Smoked Bar-B-Q.

Recommended for Kensington's Best Lunch because: The Big Easy has something for everyone and brings a touch of Americana to Kensington.

Emma's expert tip: Great for kids as they have a special kids menu and it's a big venue so caters well for large parties.

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London restaurant legend Terence Conran started out with this quirky, elegant restaurant, which doesn't scrimp on a single detail. Sit within a Grade I listed building, where a bold blue color scheme and large, colorful stained-glass window dominate the white-clothed tables and intimate and somewhat formal dining room. Beautifully prepared dishes include squid ink risotto with grilled squid and gremolata, deep-fried haddock and chips, and grilled calf's kidneys. The wine list is so large it's arranged in a three-ring binder. Diners looking for more laid-back environs can check out the downstairs oyster bar, which offers fresh seafood and a friendly atmosphere. 3-course prix fixe lunch �29.50. TUBE: South Kensington

Recommended for Kensington's Best Lunch because: Bibendum and Bibendum Oyster Bar is a favourite destination for ladies (and men) who lunch in Kensington.

Emma's expert tip: Lunch, you might be able to turn up and eat, but for dinner, book a table.

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In trendy Notting Hill, this tile-floored trattoria offers authentic Italian dishes with a light touch, such as gnocchi a la gorgonzola, made with light potato dumplings in a rich creamy sauce, and crespoline a la parmesana crisp pancakes with ricotta and spinach. That makes it perfect for a lunch, or dinner spot, and its intimate atmosphere will delight just as much as its food. Other specialties include veal knuckle with risotto and calves liver in butter. Curvy wrought-iron, Italian post cards, and a restaurant cat add a personal touch to this friendly restaurant, which as its name suggests favours Tuscan cooking in the great Italian firmament. TUBE: Notting Hill Gate

Recommended for Kensington's Best Lunch because: Bertorelli La Toscana's light touch makes it a perfect place for lunch in Kensington.

Emma's expert tip: Bertorelli La Toscana does a bit of everything Italian, but its Tuscan dishes that it really excels at.

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Alounak does delicious Iranian food in comfortable Notting Hill. Locals heap high praise on this eatery, where Iranian-inspired dishes and a comfortable dining room attract expats from all over the city. Tandoor-baked breads beckon to hungry passersby, and traditional dishes like hummus, gyros and char-grilled aubergines ensure that no appetite goes unsated. Additional specialties, like marinated-then-grilled sea bass seasoned with saffron, offer a more exotic brush with authentic Persian fare. Delicate rice is cooked to perfection as is the glistening lamb meat the restaurant offers. Yoghurt and spinach provides a comforting accompaniment to the spicier dishers but everything is perfectly judged. TUBE: Bayswater or Queensway

Recommended for Kensington's Best Lunch because: Alounak has been described as the best Persian restaurant in London,not to be missed.

Emma's expert tip: Alounak's food is perfectly judged and delicious, it attracts expats and locals alike.

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The Lanesbourough hotel might, strictly speaking still be in the City of Westminster, but it's on the road down towards Knightsbridge and Kensington and is Kensington in its ethos. The conservatory-like dining room at the Lanesborough takes traditional British tea for a turn by providing international flair. The room is decked out in mint green and pink, and flowing water adds to the ambience. Tiny sandwiches, crumpets, and scones with all the fixings are served with your choice from nearly two dozen varieties of tea and a selection of delectable petit-fours. The Lanesborough is the first in England to have a tea sommelier. Afternoon tea from 35 pounds. TUBE: Hyde Park Corner

Recommended for Kensington's Best Lunch because: Apsleys offers a Kensington ethos, at the borough's boundaries, delicate, light and refined.

Emma's expert tip: Apsleys in the Lanesborough hotel is great for traditional British afternoon tea, or a light lunch.

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Meet Emma Wallis

London gives Emma a warm fuzzy feeling every time she gets back to her home city. As a writer and broadcaster she travels extensively round Europe and the world, but is always happy to return to...  More About Emma