The Hillgate Pub is a fun little place to stumble upon! It amazes me how a short walk behind the always-busy Notting Hill Gate can lead to the most beautiful and peaceful streets in London!
That pretty walk gets you to the adorable rounded-corner Hillgate Pub. It’s beautifully painted, has cute picnic tables, and always a nice, lively surrounding crowd. Inside its equally as adorable. Modern and fresh, the walls are painted a clean cobalt blue. Informative black chalkboards with fresh white scribblings are displayed all over among eclectic graphic wall-hangings. The rustic wood tables keep with the laid-back pub style, but are sweetened with tabletop flowers and candles. We had reserved a table and it was just too cute seeing a little spot for two with a personal chalkboard and my name.
I was completely surprised at how young, well-dressed, and lively the crowd was. The pub seems to hide in such a quiet area that I did not expect to be around so much energy! It was really refreshing compared to a lot of the traditional London pubs that have quieter, older patrons.
I arrived before my husband, straight from Selfridges, and was instantly asked out by actually another American. I obviously did not give the guy my number, but was flattered and at that point decided that I loved the Hillgate Pub.
With my ego-boosted I relaxed, ordered a glass of wine, and waited for my husband. He arrived shortly after and we began a meal that was reasonably priced, extremely tasty, and brought to us by a competent waitstaff.
We started with the meat plate and padron peppers. Very tapas style, so not exactly what you would first expect at a British pub, but they were delicious starters. After that, my husband thoroughly enjoyed the bavette steak and I the salmon special. My only criticism was the portion size. The generous salmon fillet was imbalanced against a dollup of smashed potatoes. You couldn’t even see the potatoes until you moved the fillet, as if they were only there to keep the salmon from sliding. What really irked me about that, though, was the waitress’ response to the potato problem. As she cleared our empty plates, I told her for the sake of the next patron. She just said “you should have let me know.” This brought me to think about another issue I see a lot with the service in London. It’s Serving 101 to know that you need to check back with your table after they’ve begun eating their meals. The rule is to ask how everything is within two minutes or two bites. That is the only way to ensure your customers are happy with the preparation and quality of their dish. This server did not check on us post-delivery at all, so how should I “have let her know”? Should I have gotten up and looked for her? Should I have brought my dish back to the kitchen and re-plated it myself? No. It was just a rookie comment that highlighted holes in the service. A simple sorry about that, can I bring some extra potatoes out now, or any other gesture would have been appreciated.
But, aside from my one little potato problem, the food was outstanding and we enjoyed the experience. By the time we left, the music was turned up and the party was really starting. Everyone was really happy and even starting to dance a little bit. Our night was just starting, too. Our little pub dinner turned into an all night affair, leading is to The Electric, Nam Long, and Raffles. It was a big night and my poor body could have used those extra potatoes!
Still, an absolute must-do at the Hillgate Pub. Tasty food from an interesting menu regardless of the size. Check it out and enjoy!
The Hillgate Pub
24 Hillgate Street
London W8 7SR