As I was walking to Maria G's I couldn't shake the feeling I was going the wrong way, despite my phone's blue dot assuring me otherwise.  

There aren't many scummy - or even average - streets in Kensington, yet I managed to stride down one large artery of a road that looked particularly grim, grey and grubby on my way to Maria G’s, running late on a summery evening in August. 

Tucked away behind a Travelodge, near a canal and encircled by modern apartment blocks, the restaurant is housed on the ground floor of Coe House - a block of apartments so luxurious, I thought I was walking into a hotel lobby. Perhaps if I was local to the area, the location would have made more sense. But I’m not, so it didn’t.  

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My pal was already waiting for me, and although she came from a much more scenic route, she too thought she was going the wrong way, and had cut a few laps around the apartment block wondering what was going on.  

But don’t let Maria G's funny location or slightly confusing journey put you off, because it is lovely.  

I was keen to check this restaurant out. Robin Gill has cultivated quite the reputation for himself with several fine venues under his belt.  

This includes the much-loved but now closed restaurant The Dairy in Clapham and the Zebra Riding Club which serves refined dishes made from fruits of the Earth and nature’s glory over at Birch Community, a country retreat in Hertfordshire primed for east London hipsters over 30 who are in touch with their feelings.

And the Dublin-born chef has been busy of late opening Maria G’s around the same time as opening Bottle & Rye in Brixton Market. 

Gill’s venues manage to pull off an unfussy chic, in which elegant dishes satiate bellies and sing without the aid of too much fandangle. Meals make the most of farm-to-fork eating irrespective of whether the menu comes with a contemporary British, French, or in Maria G’s case, an Italian twang. 

Pushing through the hotel’s grand and fairly impressive wooden doors, Maria G’s’ dining room is all slabs of tile and booths with soft plush seating that opens onto a well-manicured lawn.  

Like Gill’s other venues, Maria G’s is also stylish yet comfortable and friendly; it’s a place to relax in. We were seated at a little table, right near the open kitchen which looked on to the garden and handed an Aperol spritz before moving onto a couple of glasses of blush rose from the compact and sensible wine list – you can get a glass of wine for under £6, a bottle for under £30, and with the most expensive bottle going for £200, nothing on the list is too silly.  

Maria G’s was made for languid leisurely eating on balmy nights. Dishes spoke of warm weather dining, a kind of casual grazing with laidback Italian finesse. We started with a plate of gooey Stracciatella with ripe nectarine that cut through the cheese’s punch with sweetness and crunch, aged parmesan fries which rarely go wrong, and a pea and burrata arancini ball that managed to both be pleasingly dense and a little bit fresh.  

The bogna cauda –a perky anchovy dip –was the standout and came served with radishes so crisp and peppery, they might as well have been plucked straight from the ground the moment beforehand.   

Next up, the salty sardine bolognaise was piled on a mound of squid ink linguine and also came with some crunch and texture thanks to the breadcrumbs mixed through.  

The aubergine stuffed with caponata was a light, summery dish, and the grilled mackerel arrived whole under a delicate buttery sauce.  

Dessert, like the wine list, was satisfyingly moderate – nothing too cloying to end on. The Amalfi lemon cannoli was another breezy dish - zesty and fresh - while the dark chocolate mousse with cherries, maraschino liqueur and whipped cream was a little more rich but not too decadent that it finished you off, rather the other way round.

And it’s a great way to end a meal, isn’t it? Contented and full yet wanting to come back for more.  

Address: Coe House, 2-4 Warwick Lane W14 8FN


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