From Belgravia to Kensington

Saturday, April 27th , 2019

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Abd el Wahab in Belgravia is the first European outlet of an 18-strong Lebanese restaurant group. I can’t comment on the merits of the original restaurant in Beirut, but the Belgravia offshoot leaves a great deal to be desired. The two salads that we tried were ordinary, grilled chicken was dry and the bought-in baklava, itself not great, was the best thing that we tried. The service was leaden and the wine list sloppily put together. I have no idea how restaurants like this survive in central London, where costs are high. To be sure, there are worse places than this, but absolutely nothing made me want to return.

Pizzicotto in Kensington is the casual sister of the long established and more formal Il Portico nearby. As well as pizzas, Pizzicotto serves a more general Italian menu. Tagliatelle with pork belly ragu had good texture, and a risotto primavera was also very pleasant. Focaccia here is made from scratch and cooked in the wood-fired pizza oven. The wine list is inexpensive and has some real bargains at the high end of the list and the owner, who always seems to be present, runs a friendly service operation.