Garden of Como: vines, citrus and giant Ferrero rock come to Kensington
What’s the problem?
New “Italian tapas” restaurant, from the team that brought you to the Latin American sister spot Zuaya, down the road.
What’s the vibe?
From the outside to the inside – trees were growing thick out of the partition between the cabins, vines covering the walls, small orange trees standing in the corners and a few small statues adorned with vines strewn, like a house Italian stately. That, along with plenty of crisp white leather – benches, chairs, cubicles – and marble tabletops, giving it a vaguely eighty-luxury feel.
Kensington High Street on the corner – with their sidewalk seating and side folding doors opening onto Kensington Court, giving it a short distance from the main road.
What is on the menu?
Despite the manifesto of “Italian tapas”, Como Garden’s menu offers a fairly traditional antipasti, primi, secondi format, with a series of starters – arancini, burrata, stuffed peppers – followed by pasta dishes, then meat and meat. fish with accompaniments, and desserts. As far as we can tell, this is a range of predominantly simple London-Italian restaurants, with mostly straightforward (and perfect) dishes: pasta alla Norma, trofie al pesto, pan-fried sea bass, butter chicken with sage.
Amalfi Lemon Chicken, Grilled in Sage Butter – beautifully tender and generous enough to serve two people as a main course if you add a side dish.
And the surprise starter of the dessert we didn’t think we had room for or interest in: the Como Ferrero Rocher – a rich, frothy ball of hazelnut chocolate in a hard chocolate shell, much bigger and richer than its namesake.
The mushroom and truffle pappardelle was also stellar – rich, earthy, chewy – but with the caveat that, like our linguini, the restaurant was too cold when we were there to do their pasta justice. We visited in one of the recent storms, and the great doors of Kensington Court have opened (whether for Covid safety, or simply for the determination to act like it’s summer, we can’t fault the engagement at all) which made for some great visuals – like eating inside a lodge, surrounded by greenery, rain falling in sheets outside – but room temperature pasta quickly . Our tip: when booking, check the weather and whether the doors are going to be open, and ask for a less exposed corner seat, or layer on top of sweaters.
The bill will pile up. The tapas approach means you’re considering around 3 courses per head of pre-dessert – and a delicious but small arancino will set you back around £ 7, and it’s the cheapest on the antipasto menu. Pasta dishes start at around £ 14, the secondi at £ 18 without sides and a lobster linguini costs £ 25 – punchy for a dish that isn’t a main course. If you take their 3-course-a-head tip, you’re probably looking for £ 50 each before you move on to the dessert menu (and you’re going to want to move on to the dessert menu), and without drinks or service.
Cocktails cost from £ 12 to £ 14, but the house’s white and red wines both slide to just under £ 30 for a bottle – not cheap, but well chosen, and you can order by the carafe.
Can you reserve?
Yes, and that’s a good idea – especially if you have a preference for seating.
A thin strip of sidewalk seating, which would work for two people but not for more. They offer delivery via Uber Eats, SUPPER and others so an easy outdoor option would be picnicking in Hyde Park a few minutes away but ordering carefully – we expect cold foods like antipasti to travel better than pasta. .
Pre-match and post-match?
Como Garden, 37-45 Kensington High Street, W8 5ED.
Londonist were guests of Como Garden.