We in London will recognise SW7 as a postcode. The area is 4km west of the City of Westminster, and contains South Kensington and Knightsbridge, two of the smartest parts of the capital. The Melia London Kensington Hotel and its SW7 restaurant are a welcome addition.
SW7 is a bright and contemporary restaurant. Blond wood tables and chairs fringe the space, with windows looking out over Gloucester Road. The imposing bar has become a favourite watering hole for hotel guests and locals alike. They present a menu of both classic cocktails such as Mojito, Old Fashioned and Negroni as well as popular signature cocktails of Kensington Gardens and The Royal Borough.
SW7 has a focus on a fusion of Mediterranean and classical British cuisine for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is a tempting spread of all the elements with which to make a classic Full English, and that is appreciated by the UK visitors, as well as many overseas guests. But there are hints of the Spanish roots of the Melia group. There is Spanish ham and cheese, and churros for those who need a sweet fix. There is a delicious à la carte menu with egg dishes made to order.
But dinner is the draw at SW7. My starter was also Spanish-inspired. Iberian Ham Croquettes with both crispy ham and cured ham was addictive. One might believe that one has found good croquettes when on holiday, but even an aficionado would agree that the SW7 version of the genre is first class. I wonder if they have them as a bar snack?
Butternut Squash Soup was my companion’s first course. This is a great soup with a silky texture and just right for a cool London evening. This has been a much-underrated vegetable and it’s good to see that it’s now found on more menus. This soup was served with pumpkin seed, and lime crème fraiche for a bright zing.
Pan-Fry Rabbit was predictably going to be my companion’s choice of main course. This is a delicious meat and it’s such a shame that it isn’t more widely available. It’s mild but I think it has a more pronounced flavour than, say, chicken. This bunny came with spinach, chickpeas and marzanino tomato salad.
I was tempted by Lamb Rack and our knowledgeable server suggested Onions Rings along with that. The chops were succulent and well-seasoned, and those onions should be served by the bucket-load. Nothing more needed other than a good glass of red.
Desserts was served in Martini glasses
Our brace of desserts was served in Martini glasses in stylish fashion. Dracula was unsurprisingly red, chilled, with raspberry and strawberry purée, vanilla ice cream and Coca Cola slush. Coconut and Vanilla Pannacotta had a sprinkle of pistachio powder to add both colour and texture.
SW7 has a location so very well connected by public transport and near local tourist attractions, but it’s the Spanish-inspired food that will ensure many happy returns.
SW7 Restaurant, Melia Kensington London Hotel
Monday to Sunday: 7am to 10:30pm
Melia London Kensington Hotel
61 Gloucester Road
Phone: +44 (0)207 584 8100