We’re a lucky bunch in London – now, more so than ever, finding great food in The Capital is about as easy as stepping outside. You can walk a mile in virtually any direction and find somewhere more than adequate enough to satisfy your hunger. And then I was invited to try the Sunday Lunch at West Thirty Six. Naturally, I followed the usual steps, find a suitable date (a Sunday which succeeded an empty Saturday night was the obvious winner) and then checked CityMapper for directions… 70 minutes.. including three changes and a ten minute walk from the station. Close friends can testify that the only thing I’m willing to travel 70 minutes for can’t be served on a plate but West Thirty Six had been on my hit-list for a while now so off I went.
West Thirty Six sits in Westbourne Park and is part of the Robert Newmark group of restaurants – Beach Blanket Babylon and Boneyard (my interview with group exec chef – John Pollard). And like the others in the family of restaurant bars, focuses on modern British grilled food, cocktails, a chilled vibe and a young and affluent clientele. Imagine a modern Marylebone bistro had a baby with a trendy Notting Hill Pub and was raised by an eccentric Soho bar. You can happily come here for a family brunch, a date, birthday night out or an evening of drinking and dancing. It’s open from breakfast to very late night, throughout the week, and of course for a Sunday Roast.
A quick tour of the space (by the contagiously eager staff) reveals just how vast this place is. There are no fewer than six rooms (each of which can be privately hired), a street-side patio, a rooftop, and a tranquil garden. The décor seems to lend it self to the aforementioned matriarchal ‘eccentric Soho bar’ that is responsible for much of the design. The comfort and ease to relax made my ‘Fellowship of The Rings-esque’ journey a very distant memory. You’d be forgiven for mistaking your surroundings for the living-room of a comfort-crazed and well-travelled distant relative. Ornaments, and trinkets are scattered around the room, telling the story of faux travels; mini table-lamps, reminiscent of French Bistros, provide lighting for diners; and EVERY seat in the house looks comfortable – with a choice between leather chesterfields or banquette seating (nothing worse than wondering why you weren’t sat in the comfy seats over ‘there’). Having settled in, and after a couple of stunningly made, and spicy Bloody Marys (which are bottomless for an additional £15) for menu reading, we order.
My more fitness focused friends once told me of a concept called ‘Cheat Days’ – a day that occurs once a week in which you are allowed to eat as much as you like… there was a stipulation attached to this but I wasn’t paying attention to fine-print. So in keeping with this weekly tradition I order the pancakes to start, a rib-of-beef roast lunch as a main, and cheesecake to cap it all off. The Oat Ricota Pancakes (£8.50) were a delight – not something I (or the rest of the World) usually go for as a starter but it’s cheat day! Fresh berries and honey are perfect for cultivating an illusion of healthy eating and the generous quantity allows for sharing. The Roast Rib-of-Beef (£18.40) continues in WTS’s generous form with a mountainous stack of veggies, a Yorkshire pud big enough to bath a baby in, and meat portions enough to host your own Sunday Lunch party.
Such is the quantity; we have to formulate a plan of attack – just to know where to begin tackling this monster. Though you can’t fault the quality of the food - the beef may have been a touch on the rare side for some people, and navigating through the avalanche of food did become a touch tricky (as they are served on oddly shaped slabs of wood). Aside from that it was a faultless offering… and eventually defeated me. Having regrouped, and forced an appetite with another Blody Mary, we go after the Raspberry Cheesecake (£7.50). Though delicious, and containing a crunch base (a vital attribute) I was once again defeated – the amount I had consumed was now measurable in Kilograms, as opposed to courses.
In closing my long awaited maiden trip to West Thirty Six was a successful one. I previously spoke of my distain in travelling for food but this was worth it. I’d happily come here again (plans are afoot as I’m writing this). The staff were very proud of where they worked, the portions were universally generous, and I genuinely didn’t want to leave (not due to my pending mission). And above all, it’s a place I can confidentially recommend for any occasion – as I’m doing now.
BOOK WEST THIRTY SIX HERE