NOTTING HILL without Geales would be unthinkable, says Pat Moore. The restaurant opened inauspiciously in 1939 and has become one of London’s best-loved local restaurants.
GEALES RESTAURANT may have opened inauspiciously in 1939, but it survived all the lean years to become one of London’s most prestigious restaurants. Tucked away behind The Gate cinema in Notting Hill Gate, its clientele has been coming for years, bringing children and grandchildren who in turn bring their families. Notting Hill without Geales would be unthinkable.
I like its friendly staff, headed by Mancunian chef Ollie, and the seaside décor of blue and white checked tablecloths over stiffly starched white ones, grey-blue walls, pine floors and fishing-themed photos. You almost expect to see a sailing boat pass down Farmer Street outside: it’s so delightfully nautical.
The fish, of course, is fabulous. Here you’ll find everything from Malden (Essex) Rock Oysters and deep fried whitebait to Lobster Linguini, Seafood Platter and more traditional pollock, cod and haddock. Unusually, you could also have a 6oz fillet of beef with half a lobster and there are two other beef dishes for the non-fish eater.
I began with a huge prawn and avocado cocktail, followed by my favourite: Geales incomparable fish pie with its crunchy gratin top. My friend chose the peppered smoked mackerel with beetroot salad: delicious. She followed it with a large haddock and her must-have mushy peas and chips.
Portions are large, so we asked Roberto-from-Equador, our attentive waiter, for a short pause before the puddings, which we were determined not to miss. British classic Apple and Blackberry Crumble with vanilla ice cream and chocolate and raspberry sorbets were just right to end our superb supper. Despite its great age, Geales has definitely not lost its touch.
Geales, 2 Farmer Street, London W8 7SN; tel: (020) 7727 7528; www.geales.com. Nearest tube station: Notting Hill Gate. Review by Pat Moore.