Set in an enviable location just a hop, skip and jump from the high-end shops and intriguing museums of South Kensington, you’ll find 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel. Inside in a gleaming townhouse that was once home to a Victorian aristocrat, this five-star hotel is a destination in itself: the six-storey building boasts impeccable style, distinctive artwork, opulent guest rooms, and number of refined bars and restaurants.
One such restaurant is W/A Kensington. Recently reopened (April 2022) with a whole new menu, chef and decor, the bright and airy eatery is a great spot for laid-back, yet special meals. The food here is indulgent, offering a modern twist on classic Belgian dishes, companied by a fine selection of refreshing Belgian beer, wine and bubbles. Executive Chef, Sofiane Kaced drew on his love of travelling and 20 years culinary experience to create the menu, and it shows in the flavour combinations and presentation of each plate.
We opted to start with the country pork terrine; the sweetness of the brioche, earthiness of the pork, and sharpness of the gherkin worked harmoniously. If you’re feeling fancy (likely, in this gorgeous setting), the oysters are presented well on a two-tier dish and make for a refreshing kickstart to your meal.
When it comes to the main course, you are spoilt for choice. The classic menu features soft gnocchi, grilled steaks (tender, juicy and delicious, FYI) and zesty salmon to name just a few dishes. Then there are two restaurant specials – arguably the gems in W/A Kensington’s crown – which you can personalise. The first is mussels, served with Belgian fries and choice of sauce: marinière, Belgian beer, crème Normande or Provençale. The second is the restaurant’s innovative waffle burger: your choice of beef, chicken, veggie or vegan patty, sandwiched between two light and fluffy Belgian waffles. I opted for the former; the mussels were abundant – the portion sizes at this restaurant are very generous – fresh, and the sauce was perfect; it was light and subtle, allowing the flavour of the mussels to shine. The Belgian fries were crisp and delightful; a lovely accompaniment.
Dessert is just as satisfying as the courses before. If you skipped out on the waffle burger main, or the two savoury waffles just weren’t enough – hey, no judgement – the sweet dessert option piles the soft dough with Chantilly cream, sweet ice cream, and sauce. The waffles are light, and the sweetest end to your meal. Various ice cream options are also available.
The crisp colour scheme at W/A Kensington is accentuated by yellow lighting, and the overall calm atmosphere makes it a great spot whether you’re dining with a partner, a friend or solo. It’s also worth noting the attentiveness of the service.
The hotel itself bursts at the seams with ‘flavour’; away from the restaurant, intricate archways, glittering chandeliers and intriguing curios punctuate the walkways. Alongside its history as a home to the Alexander family, it was once a marketplace too; it became the first iteration of a hotel back in 1908. Much like the restaurant, a sophisticated colour scheme is perfectly complemented by bold furniture and foliage, giving a subtle outdoor-inside feel.
If you’re looking to stay overnight after your meal, the hotel’s rooms and suites are plush, each refurbished from its heyday as a Victorian period mansion yet with quirky elements that remind you of its history. In fact, up on the sixth floor, each of the hotel’s suites display its own Blue Plaque in reference to historical figures that had a connection to William Alexander and lived close by, such as Dame Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock.
There is a dedication to impeccable service at the 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel, from the staffs’ manner to the little touches throughout its rooms, suites and communal areas. It is a great place to eat, sleep and even work, if you have the luxury of working remotely (the ESQ bar, with its speakeasy-meets-museum vibe, is closed to drinkers and diners before 5pm and is a tranquil space to work). Alternatively, W/A Kensington and the hotel in which it sits is a great spot from which to explore the decadent areas of the city; Harrods is a 20-minute amble up the street, the glittering Knightbridge shops are even closer. Equally, if you’re looking for a lavish spot to dine after a day of exploring the city’s museums, like the Natural History or V&A, you’ll be but a 10-minute stroll away.