Kensington is renowned for being a little bit of a pretentious area. Whole Foods dominate the supermarkets in the locality, you won’t find a house for less than a couple of million and those pounding the street are more likely to be sporting designer than high street attire.
For these reasons, I haven’t ever really considered it when deciding where to eat. I worried it would be far too expensive and too fancy, featuring menu items that I couldn’t even pronounce, let alone consume in a relaxed setting. However, if you too have had these reservations then don’t let it be a write off, for I have found a lovely little hidden gem in the area which captures both a relaxing, friendly setting and an amazing ‘British’ take on American comfort food. Introducing Dirty Bones…
Located on Kensington Church Street, Sofie and I headed there one evening last week to try out their famous hot dogs, chicken wings and cocktails.
With a young, quirky clientele and a lively atmosphere, the bar and restaurant was packed from the moment we arrived to the moment we left, which is always a great sign that somewhere is well loved – especially since it’s been open awhile (and another is set to open on Carnaby Street).
The hostess table is made from a vintage pinball machine, while light up signs line the walls. Mis-matched tiles adorn the ceilings and floors and the light shades hang at differing levels, illuminating the tempting and busy cocktail bar (which is constantly in action). In among the hustle and bustle of the London foodie scene, Dirty Bones has certainly found its niche and made its mark.
We waited for our table over a couple of (very strong) mojitos – which is always a good start to the night. The bar tables are available for food service, if you want a more chilled, fast paced Dirty Bones experience – however we were escorted into the restaurant area, which was a little more dinner friendly and brightly lit (I breathed a sigh of relief for the sake of the blog photographs).
Citrus glazed peppers and chicken wings with a kick were the first ‘comfort food’ items on our agenda, which seemed to be a firm favourite not only with us but our fellow diners too (everyone is seated very close to one another, so it’s not overly rude to sneak a peek at what’s arriving on everyone else’s table). Deep fried mac balls were also a popular choice – and smelt amazing.
I’m not usually a massive fan of hot dogs, but since we were in a place that evidently did American cuisine rather well, both Sofie and I opted for them in differing varieties – mine a ‘Classic Yankee’ with sauerkraut, spring onion, mustard and ketchup and Sofie’s a ‘Brit Dog’ with bacon, cheddar, gherkins and mustard. Since the brioche bun contained egg and milk, we both went for the ‘naked’ option, which probably wasn’t as photogenic – but meant I could enjoy it in all its glory!
We both agreed that the hot dog itself was incredible, complimented by the assortment of toppings which we tucked into hungrily while filling each other in on life as a whole. I met Sofie in February at London Fashion Week and we instantly hit it off. She’s such a hard-working, lovely and genuine girl who I really click with and although we’ve been chatting back and forth online, we hadn’t actually had a proper one-to-one chat in person, so we made the most of this opportunity and didn’t stop talking from the moment we arrived to the moment we left – even with mouthfuls of hot dog.
The skinny fries that accompanied our ‘dogs’ were cooked to perfection and didn’t leave you with that greasy, guilty after-thought that many platefuls do. A tiny criticism, if I was being picky, was that the spring onion we both opted for as toppings was a little too crunchy and it could have done with being fried off slightly for less of an ‘al dente’ bite, which contrasted a little too greatly with the hot dog. However, since you could quite easily leave the spring onion on the side – this wasn’t a major problem, illustrated by the fact that not a scrap was left on our plates once the waitress cleared them away.
After another mojito (or two), we decided to peruse the dessert menu – and Sofie let me pick out a surprise pudding for her, since I couldn’t pick out one for myself due to them all containing dairy. Although the Peanut Butter Cookie Cup did sound rather exciting, I eventually chose the Milk & Cookies option, which featured a freshly baked chocolate (gooey) cookie and milk gelato (essentially just really creamy vanilla ice cream). Sofie very kindly road tested the pudding for blog purposes – and confirmed it was just as delicious as it sounded. If not more.
Eventually, we paused in our conversation and realised it was far later than we thought – nearly quarter to eleven in fact. We’d had a fantastic evening, in a really relaxed setting and felt so at home, the time just whizzed by. It was made even more brilliant by the delicious food (the ‘I’ve eaten far too much waddle’ came out once again) and we both agreed we’d return in a heartbeat.
If you’re looking for somewhere down to earth, friendly and with an incredible menu to boot, this is your place. I’d recommend booking since it’s rather busy most nights, however if you’re in the area and don’t fancy taking out a small mortgage to pay for your meal – have a look in here (you won’t want to leave). Hot dogs are around the £7 mark, a side of Mac & Cheese is £4 and the all important cocktails start from upwards of £7. Say no more!
20 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4EP
020 7920 6434