by JJ Miller
For a long time now, I’ve wanted to put together a neighbourhood guide for London. I get asked so often for the best roast Dinner here – or the best Afternoon Tea there – I thought it would be a lovely idea to collate the information and write it down, for all to see.
But how can 1 person undertake such a huge task? With difficulty…that’s for sure. There is so much to see and do in London, it would take months, no, YEARS, to find out the best bits in all the neighbourhoods out there. So, I did what any sane person would do. I asked for help. I mean, who knows London better than the people who live there? So, over the coming months, you’ll see contributions from our lovely readers, outlining their favourite restaurants, bars, shops, sights and hidden treasures from their local area. Gradually, we should start to get a real guide to the best bits of this fantastic City – from the people who know it and love it best. Soon, you’ll have no excuse not to step away from your local and try someone elses. After all – we’ll have done all the hard work for you!
So, where to start? My ‘hood, right here in Kilburn (well, Brondesbury, if we’re being picky, but who’s heard of that?!) It’s not nearly as scary as my Father warned me it would be, with some stunning houses, awesome facilities and eating/drinking establishments. I may cross over a little bit into next-door areas so do excuse me…but this is a snapshot about what I love best about loving round here.
269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR | 020 7372 6611 | firstname.lastname@example.org
I love local cinemas…you know the ones..the ones that basically aren’t run by Vue or the Odeon. We’re blessed with them in NW London, but while we’re talking Kilburn, the Tricycle needs a mention. It’s not as pretty or flash as some of the others I know, but it’s community funded and shows some fantastic plays and interesting cinema choices. Smack bang in the middle of Kilburn High Street, it’s not the most glamorous of locations, but please, if you’re nearby, stop in. Support your local theatre and catch some great performances while you’re here, too.
228 Belsize Road, NW6 4BT | 0207 372 4699
There are a few Little Bay restaurants around town and they’re all cute and quirky…but this is my favourite. Staff are mad, service is slapdash at times, decor is mental and theatrical, but food is cheap…and more importantly, GOOD. Bizarrely, I had one of the best burgers I have ever eaten here – entirely unexpected but absolutely delicious – juicy, packed with flavour and cooked to perfection, it’s worth the visit for this alone (but there are plenty of other reasons too!) Amazing value but be warned – it’s cash only, and the nearest cash point is a little bit of a walk away on the main road (from what we can tell).
86 Mill Lane London NW6 1NL | 020 7435 1666 | email@example.com
OK, OK, I’m cheating, as Bake-a-Boo is actually West Hampstead, but it’s one of my favourite places and just a short stroll away, so I’m including in and you’re just going to have to deal with it! The most fabulous tea-shop I know, with adorable vintage inspired decor, a huge range of tea’s, good coffee and some of the best cakes I’ve tasted in ages. Best things about Bake-a-Boo? The fact they do gluten free and dairy free cakes, their DELICIOUS afternoon teas (arguably my favourite in London) and the fact it’s one of the cutest places I know, right on my doorstep. Beautiful Baker Zoe can also make you celebration cakes to order if you give her enough notice, and trust me, their delicious.
375 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7QB | 020 7625 6634 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone decent in Kilburn knows about, and probably drinks in, the North London Tavern. A lovely London pub with restaurant attached (great seasonal food, not too expensive), The NLT is a great place to relax, with it’s loungy, falling to pieces old leather sofas and warm atmosphere. They have a good wine collection (huge fan of the Malbec), the staff are friendly and the Customers a good, mixed bunch. Upstairs, there’s a function room available for private hire and with a good range of events, including comedy and live music.
165 Kilburn High Road Kilburn, London NW6 7HY | 020 7328 6646
A friend introduced me to Spicy Basil after it re-opened last year, and I’m grateful. Completely unexpected and always packed, Spicy Basil provides good quality, authentic Thai food at extremely reasonable prices. You may have to wait for your table but it probably won’t be too long, as no-one seems to linger – but that’s no reflection on the food. Alcohol isn’t served but you can bring your own bottle. Decor basic, but if you’re looking for fancy, you’re in the wrong place.
77 Kilburn High Road London NW6 6HY | 020 7624 5793
Another pub, down the other end of Kilburn High Street. Bit bonkers, with a quirky interior, with a modern twist, and plenty of outside tables for when the weathers OK (although, to be fair, you are sitting on Kilburn High Road, so the view isn’t great). Friendly staff, decent cocktails and a nice pub menu. A cute and welcome find!
61 Kilburn High Road Kilburn, London NW6 5SB | 020 7328 9777
Hidden away on the corner of Kilburn High Road, the award-winning Macs is a great Salon offering the latest hair and beauty treatments, with some great therapists and stylists. It’s modern, stylish and chic, and the second you walk in, the hecticness of the High Road melts away. One of the first reviews we did in London, and still one of our favourite salons. We like.
351 Kilburn High Road London NW6 7QB | 020 7328 2637
Everyone who visits Small and Beautiful comments on the unbelievable prices and good quality food. Starters are under £3 (!) yet this is one of the nicest places to eat round here. Open for breakfasts and coffee in the mornings, it’s also a lovely place for weekend brunch. Have had Steak and Seafood here, and both were really enjoyable. Situated right next to Brondesbury Station and just 2 minutes from Kilburn underground, this is a proper local gem.
34 Kilburn High Road, NW6 5UA | 020 7625 7500
One of the more famous bars in the area, The Westbury opens late, has great DJs and a brilliant quiz night. People come from all over London to visit, making for a fun night, but occasional long queues (you’ve been warned!)
2 Exeter Parade, Exeter Road, Kilburn, NW2 3UH | 020 7328 5661
We’re lucky enough to have a stylish, beautifully stocked florist right outside the station – with some unusual and stunning blooms and happy, knowledgeable staff who are happy to help you make up a bouquet or arrangement for whatever occasion and to any budget. Helpfully, they stock loads of vases too!
366 opposite Kilburn Station…
A new addition, and we’re glad it’s here. Downstairs. it’s a luxurious cocktail bar, while upstairs, it’s and open(ish) space underneath the railway arch, with plenty of seating and a separate bar. Love this place, and looking forward to spending some time here when it gets warmer. There is a restaurant too, which we haven’t tried yet…but the food always looks good.
Kilburn is really accessible, on both the Jubilee and Piccadilly tube lines, and various bus routes. We tend to use Swiss Cottage Cars for cabs – they get here quick, are blinking cheap and never let us down, which is pretty much what you want from a cab firm, if you ask me.
We’re also quite lucky when it comes to wide open spaces, believe it or not. Despite the mankiness (and, let’s face it, horrendous traffic) on the High Road, we’re blessed with Queen’s Park, Kilburn Grange Park and Paddington Recreation Ground..plus Regents Park is up the road if you fancy a bike ride. Amazing.
Other places I love locally, that aren’t technically Kilburn, but are local…and make it so enjoyable to live round here…include:
- Queens Park Farmers Market, on Salusbury Road: Quite small, but some great finds…we get our meat for roasts here and it’s always top quality. Nice for a mooch.
- Gails: Gorgeous bakery with a plethera of mouth-watering treats. Lovely just to sit, eat & watch the world go by…
- The Salusbury: Local pub, that also has a wine shop and Italian Restaurant next door. Very cool.
- The Alice House: There are 2 – one in Queens Park and one in West Hampstead. West Hampstead is more chilled, while Queens Park has a lively. Ace at weekends.
- The Diner: American style food and decor, huge portions, hipster staff. Love it. You MUST try the Hard Shakes. Perfect for hare of the dog.
- Queens Park Books: I could spend hours in bookshops – and this one is small, but perfectly formed. Great kids section too.
- Brooks Butchers, Kensal Rise: A proper, old school butcher, with every cut of meat you could desire enticing you through the window. Love it.
- Penks: A hidden away restaurant in Queens Park, that’s a real find. Only been in for breakfast so far, but loved the food, bright artwork and the atmosphere.
- The Paradise: A bit further out, this celeb favourite is a great bar, with nice food and excellent DJs. They also host the brilliant Kensal Flea market, which see’s a range of awesome designer and boutique stalls and comes highly recommended!
So, there you go. Some of my favourite spots. In short, Kilburn and the surrounding areas are fab for weekend lounging, drinking, eating and buying food. There are a few clothes shops and boutiques around but it’s not a premier shopping destination by a long stretch. But with Bond Street just 6 stops away, we don’t really need it to be, do we?!
Love Kilburn? Know anything I’ve missed? Please feel free to comment below (scroll down a bit…) and share your thoughts!
If you would like to get involved and tell us about your neighbourhood…please email us at email@example.com – we’d love to hear from you.