Reaction Weekend

Eating in the neighbourhood

BY Bruce Palling   /  21 September 2019

We should all have a favourite neighbourhood restaurant, no matter what our locality. These are usually places you treat more like a pub than restaurant, with a crowd of regulars that are greeted or avoided in equal numbers. For years, mine was 192, a tiny two floor wine bar restaurant in Notting Hill, opened in the early Eighties by Alastair Little. Apart from its brilliant wine list, which offered Yquem by the half bottle and a range of obscure Pomerols and Fronsacs, the menu changed twice daily as did the ideal location – up for lunch and down for dinner. A touch of glamour was added by the occasional visits by locals such as David Hockney, Nicholas Roeg, Martin Amis or Helen Fielding, but the core clients were louche media and creative types. One of the most regular fixtures at the bar once pointed to a neighbour and remarked “See that chap over there who looks like a shit who owns the place, well he is and he does”. It was actually owned by a handful of people and most of them were charming. On its closure nearly twenty years later, one observer claimed it should have been preserved as a sort of socio-cultural-alcoholic World Heritage site. Time moved on, as did the early chefs, who included Rose Gray, later of River Café fame and Rowley Leigh, whose Kensington Place subsumed 192’s role as the preferred boho destination for West London. Shortly before Kensington Place changed ownership a decade ago, a new restaurant opened even closer to home called The Ledbury.


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