Kitchen 79

By Anna Holbrook.

Queen’s Park is a funny little place – not funny ha ha of course, but more intriguing with its array of independent shops and restaurants, many of which you have to know to know.

But then there are the key hitters central to the area – and when one of them shuts up shop, it all seems a bit mysterious and we want to know why, when and exactly who is replacing them! And this is precisely what happened with the recently closed Spanish tapas restaurant and bar Caldo, which for six years enjoyed a prominent spot smack bang in the centre of Salusbury Road.

I quite liked Caldo actually.  It presented itself as a good place for a hard drink and a tasty bite before embarking on the evening routine – but it wasn’t exactly family friendly.  It was the kind of place you’d want to hang with friends and drink a little more than was allowed on a school night – which had it’s place of course.  But Queen’s Park is ever changing and the family market is heaving, and as such, we need more family friendly eateries. 

This was recognised by Caldo’s owner Rod Penk (an esteemed chef in his own right), and in its place we now have Kitchen 79 – an all day bistro serving breakfast through to dinner plus evening drinks at the central bar – a little nod to the old Caldo crowd it would seem.

The decor is simple but inviting with stripped wooden floors, the obligatory bare brick wall and ambient lighting courtesy of twinkly fairy lights alongside hanging industrial style pendants.

k79.evening.interior

It was pretty arctic when my family and I trundled down to the restaurant for lunch so we were pleased to be met with a hearty menu that would whet most appetites. It may or may not have taken us an exorbitantly long time to choose but eventually we opted to start by sharing ‘smaller plates’ from the adult menu of Goats’ Cheese Fritters with rocket and honey and the Charcuterie with bread and pickles.  Other options included Chargrilled Tiger Prawns with garlic & chilli, parsley and lemon dressing; and Spiced, Roast Beetroot & Chickpeas with harissa yoghurt, mint and griddled flatbread.

prawns 02

Prawns with garlic and chilli

The charcuterie plate was generous and the quality of the meats was excellent – devoured by all  within approximately two minutes.  We were a hungry bunch.  The sweet and salty flavour combination of the fritters ensured they were also high up on our favourites list and were ridiculously moreish.  We should probably have ordered more to have a whole fritter each (three to a plate).

The next course took a little longer than we would usually hope but they were busy (good sign) and it’s newly re-opened (gotta give them some slack) so we entertained ourselves with the kids colouring pens and puzzles provided by the restaurant and a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blank (mango & apple juice for the kids in case you’re wondering).  Little word up to the restaurant here though – the sudoku was um, challenging!  The usually competent 8 year old struggled, the grandma struggled, the husband then gave it a go and pretty much guessed the numbers… we all felt rather dumb but at least it made us laugh!

The main courses (‘larger plates’) arrived just in time for us to forget all about the soduku and I dived into the homemade Salmon & Cod Fishcakes filled with creamy white sauce and a brunoise of vegetables, with sorrel & champagne sauce accompanied with a fresh rocket salad (chips were an option).  The portion was again a good size, the fish tasted fresh and the coating was mouth-wateringly hot and crisp.  Winner.  

Despite the gorgeous sounding menu, the husband opted for a full English Breakfast which was part of a separate weekend menu and served all day (Brunch is also served between 9am – 4pm throughout the week).  Breakfasts are tricky because they are the type of food we should (in theory) be able to cook at home so harder to review but the plate looked appetising and the husband assured me the bacon was crisp, the sausage hearty, the mushrooms well seasoned, the fried egg perfectly cooked and the black pudding a perfect topper.  I personally would have liked to have seen the much loved avocado make an appearance on the menu, for freshness and colour if anything but the husband wasn’t too bothered.

My mother opted for the Hamburger with chips (as I said, comfort food was needed on this arctic day in January) which was again generous and enjoyable.  She was at pains to say however that she would have liked an option on how it was to be cooked.  Plus a little more sauce and an additional tangy tomato to compliment it wouldn’t have gone amiss.  She’s quite particular is my mother and the restaurant were very receptive to our suggestions so don’t cross it off your list!

Other larger options included tasty sounding Cassoulet, Coq au vin, Grilled ribeye steak and Roasted Red Pepper & courgette.

coq.au.vin

Coq au vin

The kids loved their hamburger, chips and onion rings and couldn’t care less about tomato-gate so all was well.  From a parents perspective, we would have loved to have seen some healthy vegetables accompanying the kids mains (cheesburger / fish & chips / mini steak) or at least as an optional extra healthy side.  A scrumptious sounding kids main vege option of Stuffed Red Pepper with rice was offered but that’s a tall order for my lot – just stick a handful of peas or green beans to their plate and all mum-guilt is alleviated!

To top if all off, we enjoyed tasty steaming coffees and the kids devoured their ice creams with caramel sauce and strawberries.  We’re however still kicking ourselves for not trying the adult churros with dipping chocolate – next time!

churro 02

Churros

We must also say a big thank you our lovely attentive waitress who was really knowledgeable about the menu and was delightful with our kids which quite frankly, is always a bonus.

Overall, we had a lovely time with enjoyable comforting food in a pretty setting in the heart of bustling Queen’s Park.  We will most certainly be back, especially when the babysitters are in and we can enjoy  the setting with a few mates during their  ‘Hours of Happiness’ (between 3-7pm) when ALL drinks, small plates and sharing platters are 3 for 2!

High chairs are available but currently no baby- changing facilities.

Kids meal: £6.95 for main course, £8.95 for main with dessert . Drinks are extra.
Small plates: Range from £4.75 (soup of the day) to £7.45 (tiger prawns)
Large plates: Range from £9.95 (beef burger / large salad) to £16.95 (ribeye steak)

Part of the space can be hired for private events (up to 80 guests).

Kitchen 79 is offering all QPM’s card holders 20% off the entire bill Monday – Friday (9am – 7pm) & 20% off the evening bill on Saturday and Sundays (from 7pm).  Not in conjunction with other offers.

Kitchen 79
79 Salusbury Road
NW6 6NH
020 7604 4484
Website:     www.kitchen79.co.uk
Instagram: kitchen79queenspark

Kitchen 79 offered QPM’s a complimentary meal in exchange for an honest review.

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