Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Lucky Seven Diner

I live in an area that is viewed as moneyed and fashionable. The fearsome quotient of estate agents in Notting Hill Gate far outnumber the shops and retailers found on a normal high street. Notting Hill is blessed with most things tied with the words Tory and prestige but whoever ‘made’ the area forgot to endow it with culinary destinations. OK The Lebury might be an exception (memorable tasting menu but overpriced and pedestrian set lunch), but what else? Perhaps a rice ball or a carboard sandwich and of course one mustn’t forget this. When it comes to dining out- Notting Hill sucks.

Westbourne Park Road is 20 mins’ walk away from my abode (don’t be too envious now for it’s only the size of an airing cupboard with one and a quarter windows) but easily reachable by buses 7 and 70. It’s also the road where Lucky Seven and its sister restaurant Crazy Homies are based. The two restaurants are part of Tom Conran’s quartet of eateries that were established a decade ago and he did so without the aid of relentless self-promotion on Twitter or Facebook (sour grapes apart, I accept his family name helped more than a bit but we have to respect that members of the Conran clan are hardly layabouts!).

Lucky Seven is all American diner (or in their words an East Coast one). Its location in this part of London is one I find a trifle divisive, a sprawling council estate on the north end and impossibly expensive town houses on the other with Kelly Hoppen’s HQ just around the corner. An American diner is in essence, egalitarian and cheap, but I’m sorry to say that I cannot imagine the folks from the Brunel Estate having their tea-fix here; Lucky Seven is simply too costly and exclusive for them. No matter what foreign cuisine we try to import into London and apply it to the max, it’ll still end up disparagingly more expensive. I’ve given up comparing the likes of a bowl of Laksa in Malaysia for a quid or the lobster roll for 12 bucks. But despite the rip-off tag, monsoon summers, Chelski, bendy buses, knife-wielding yobs, £1.35 a litre petrol prices, 7 quid for twenty Marlboros, punishing business rates, etc…I still love London warts and all.

This is a tiny place with only three pairs of booths, so be prepared for elbow to elbow communal supping. The service staffed by articulated middle-class school leavers is friendly and pretty much faultless (and thankfully no down-on-the-knees antics and wormlike greetings). This is also the sort of the place that Ludo or Xanthe might hold their teeny birthday parties at instead of an unspeakable home-do consisting of sausage roll platters from Morrisons and gigantic Chicken Cottage buckets .

I’ve been coming here on and off for the past three years, usually during the mid-afternoons when the sojourn allows me to dine alone without any jostles or distractions. I only ever come here for the burgers so the write-up about Luck Seven reflects that.

A thoughtful reminder and lecture about their burgers on the napkin is impossible to ignore.

When ordering the burgers the staff don’t egg on about how you want them cook because at a blink of an eye it’s discreetly stated on the menu that all the burgers are cooked medium. Alas most of the times I’ve eaten here the burgers have been consistently cooked medium well or well done, so do remind the person who takes your orders that it’s gotta be medium or nowt.

The bacon cheese burger.
All the burgers come partially deconstructed; salad and gherkin to one side plus a small pot of bloody good emulsion-free tasting coleslaw. The sandwich is inherently on the small side and the perceived value made worse by the salad juxtaposed. The bowl of excellent French Fries were an extra order but too large a portion for a lone diner to demolish in one sitting.

Once assembled it was perfectly sized to eat with one hand and the other flicking the pages of a Dan Simmons paperback.

The patties are made from Aberdeen Angus (byword and all) chuck and wonderfully seasoned. Once again my burger was cooked medium well but utterly forgivable every time because of its rather delicious mouthfuls. My choice of cheese has always been Monterey Jack (neutral enough not to intrude on the beef) as opposed to the others offered here like blue cheese, Swiss, Kraft or Mozarella.

On a scale of one to ten, the hamburgers here and here are eights , a dissentious five for this and a sighing three for this. The burger at Lucky Seven is an admirable six. Lunch for one came to more than fifteen quid so it’s hardly a place for the masses but the burgers served here are good enough for a thumbs-up approval.

127 Westbourne Park Road
W2 5QL
scores on the doors


Samboy said...

Methinks thou dost protest too much.

202, Electric, Raoul's, Ottolenghi, E&O, Taqueria hardly qualify the area as sucking in the casual dining department.

The burger at The Lonsdale is not that bad either.

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