What do you stare at 800 times a day, feel entirely lost without, and check for before you leave the house? No, not your partner. Or your child. Okay, maybe your child. But we’re talking about your phone. Your little omniscient pal that once prevented you from having to ask a passing fox for the best route to Old Street roundabout at 6am. Where would you be without it?
At Maggie Jones’s, that’s where. And you won’t even miss it.
This old school Kensington restaurant is the kind of place where you’re too busy leaning over a candle, chatting, and shovelling fish pie in your mouth, to even think about your phone. It serves simple, British classics that could easily be dismissed as tasting home-made. So, the roast rump of lamb comes with a choice of peas and bacon or cauliflower and cheese, and your mate might inexplicably have a couple more potatoes on their plate. It’s you, cooking at home, being bold with the saffron. Only better. Much better.
Take the stilton mousse starter. It’s a fluffy ball of tangy cheese with little triangles of toast. If you tried to make it at home you’d probably end up weeping, with a microwave that forever smells of wensleydale. Here it’s an absolute banger. Will you want to pick up old faithful and tell all 338 of your closest friends about it? Nope. You’ll be too involved in a bit of IRL messaging that we think used to be called ‘conversation’.
The food is only a small part of the reason that Maggie Jones’s quickly feels like the kind of place you’re going to have a real problem leaving. When you first walk in you’re not sure if you’ve stumbled upon a hoarder’s wet dream or the set of Poldark. There’s baskets of dried out flowers, saddles, and the odd tin watering can all hanging from the ceiling. And every available surface is covered in candles. You’ll either fear you’ve found the stash house of The Great Rocking Horse Robbery of 1922 and flee in a panic, or be entirely willing to overlook any potential fire hazards, and love it in all of its cosy, twee, home county glory.
Of course, with all that charm and a W8 postcode, this place isn’t cheap. Starters, sides, £20 mains, wine, and the mandatory apple crumble, quickly stack up. But you’re paying for the feeling that Heathcliff might pop around your church pew and have a natter over dessert. You’re paying for your thumbs to get some well-deserved R&R from messaging, swiping, and liking. After dinner at Maggie Jones’s, you might just be willing to give up your phone for good. Even if it means having to ask urban wildlife for directions home.
This is basically a ball of ice cream for people that’d rather eat a wedge of cheddar than a bar of Dairy Milk. We’d happily eat this by the kilo, but a single large scoop actually goes a long way.
Slicing through the mash with your fork is very, very satisfying. Eating it is even better. The mash is fluffy with a lovely crisp skin, and the fish is just the right combination of creamy and salty. This is a must-order.
Peas and bacon are meant to be together. That’s just a fact. Perfect with the fish pie.
This smells great, and tastes even better. It’s tender, it’s crisp, and it’s heavy on the garlic. Print some t-shirts, we’re fans.
If you cover any vegetable in cheese you’re doing mother nature a favour. But this is especially tasty. The cheese is thick, but it’s mild enough that you can still tell that there’s cauliflower underneath.
We didn’t love this as much as the other dishes. But that’s like saying we don’t like Vampire Weekend because The Beatles happened. The point is, this is still a great dish. The sea bream is light, and the saffron gives it a bit of a kick.
By the time you finish this, you won’t care who Maggie is but you’ll be willing to live here for easy access to her crumble. Hell, marry her. It’s soft, it’s crunchy, the apple to crust ratio is on point, and there’s enough cinnamon to make your sinuses sing.