One is spoilt for restaurants in London. High-end Michelin-starred, white-tableclothed establishments abound. There are exotic and periodically good curry houses. There are trending trucks offering all manner of international fare. And then there are those enduring restaurants that specialise in meat.
Think of some prime beef served with an array of vegetables, and there could be some bread as that would be very European, wouldn’t it? Sounds delicious, but then one mentions that the meat is chopped and formed into a burger and the bread is served on either side of the aforementioned patty and one’s expectations have a tendency to plummet big time. I think we call that food snobbery and it often has more to do with snobbery than quality of food …or lack thereof.
This was a return visit for me. I had already reviewed Sticky Fingers late last year (read that review here). That’s something I seldom do. One visits a restaurant and however great it is, there is really nothing more to say. But I was charmed by Sticky and there is a sizeable menu still to explore.
Kensington High Street is long on eating opportunities of every culinary hue but Sticky Fingers has endured and gained a loyal following of rib and burger aficionados, although I should say that I have also had an exceptional steak here. The restaurant is just off Kensington High Street and is aptly named after the eponymous album by the Stones. Perhaps you have to be over a ‘certain age’ for the name Bill Wyman to mean much. But for those of us who are, we know him as the bassist for the Rolling Stones. Yes, THE Rolling Stones.
This is an American-themed restaurant with a motorbike in the window, guitars as door furniture and iconic posters. In 1989 Bill Wyman opened Sticky Fingers and it has not aged a bit and has indeed managed to remain appealing to folks who actually remember the Rolling Stones and younger sorts who are just there for some of the best food of that casual genre.
There is a trend for Sunday brunch. It fits that time when one isn’t ready for eating a Sunday roast, or cooking it, but it’s too late for breakfast. There are dishes that solve that culinary conundrum and Eggs Benedict is just such a dish. There are conflicting accounts regarding the originator of Eggs Benedict. The “Talk of the Town” column of The New Yorker in 1942 had it that Lemuel Benedict, a retired Wall Street stockbroker, claimed that it was he who had invented this eggy gem. He walked into the Waldorf Hotel in 1894, wanted hangover-cure food and so ordered buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and Hollandaise. The American breakfast dish now usually consists of two halves of a muffin (English muffin if you are American) but the rest is the same.
Sticky fingers have upped the ante on that traditional Eggs Benny and presented their own version – a Benedict’s Mushroom Burger. A succulent 6oz beef patty is piled with mushrooms, bacon rashers, a runny fried egg and finished with that Hollandaise sauce. The bun is a light and sweet brioche bread that complements the savoury fillings. This yolk-dripping wonder is served every weekend from 12noon till 5pm.
Bloody Marys have long been associated with brunch and Sticky Fingers has a Stoli Hot Vodka Bloody Mary. No, dear dubious reader, the tomato juice isn’t at a simmer but it is indeed hot from chilli. This isn’t one of those challenging drinks that would have a health warning and a statement ‘Finish this if you dare and those still alive will get their next one free’. This is just a well-seasoned Bloody Mary that does pack a chilli punch but isn’t a ridiculous waste. The hefty chunk of celery could constitute a side dish in its own right but is in perfect scale for the huge glass mug. A winning meal – but leave some space for Key Lime Pie.
1A Phillimore Gardens
London W8 7QB
Phone: 020 7938 5338
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 12 noon-11 pm
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018