Chez Rowley at Laylow
A new west London residency for iconic chef Rowley Leigh
“A bistro with nostalgic dishes and classic technique at its heart”
Bella Freud’s West London glam
Main Courses £14.40 – £34
Excellent classic dining in a stylish space
It’s a return to the kitchen for Rowley Leigh, the much-loved chef behind the old Le Cafe Anglais and the long-gone trailblazer Kensington Place. He’s back with a residency at Golborne Road’s Laylow, the stylish Bella Freud-designed townhouse known for its parties and creative vibe. It’s not the most obvious pairing, but it’s a winning one judging by the busy dining room on our midweek visit.
The space is lovely, with a glamorous, bohemian vibe that’s part 1950s Soho boudoir (tassled lampshades, velvet booths, ) part Art Deco (monochrome plates, shiny tabletops) and part 21st century Notting Hill with its mixed crowd of ageing Rowley Leigh fans and young party people.
Leigh is in the kitchen, sometimes wondering around the room greeting people, and the menu includes old favourites from his well-known repertoire as well as new Italian-leaning dishes that are said to take inspiration from family holidays in Europe. So there’s parmesan custard and anchovy toast, a classic from Le Cafe Anglais, and a traditional steamed Dover sole, as well as the Mediterranean style poulet Antiboise.
To start, we have a beautiful plate of beets, stracciatella, capers and croutons which comprises wafer thin slivers of red and white beets with excellent creamy stracciatella and tiny sharp capers in a sweet, light and lovely mix. Raw sea bass and scallops with fennel, bottarga and lemon is a striking all-white plate of fresh flavours. Then there’s John Dory with purple sprouting broccoli, ceps and beurre blanc, a flawless and classic dish, and Featherblade steak with dripping toast and sauce gribiche: the steak perfectly cooked and sauce gribiche a classic French variation on mayonnaise. A side of brocolli comes with excellent crunchy chilli breadcrumbs, and everything shows skill, consideration and experience.
For pudding there’s a highly alcoholic panna cotta with raspberries and grappa and another Rowley classic: grilled pineapple with coconut ice cream and chilli syrup.
The residency continues until 23 December so now’s the time to book.