Megan's Deli and Restaurant
Restaurant in London
Delicatessen and Grill Restaurant
David Harfield channels The Boss as he discovers a Secret Garden behind the excellent Megan’s on King’s Road.
As a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, I can assure you that the New Jersey rocker has a tender side (just in case you were wondering). For every gutsy, turn-it-up-to-11 anthem there’s a plaintive ballad, for every Born To Run there’s a Streets of Philadelphia and for every guitar-heavy album such as Born In The USA there’s a sparse, acoustic-led Nebraska. Possibly one of his most beautiful balladeering moments is on Secret Garden and it’s this gorgeous and haunting song that plays in my head as I enter the hidden area at the back of Megan’s, the superb long-standing King’s Road restaurant and delicatessen.
Referred to as their ‘Magical Courtyard’ (can’t see Bruce penning a song of that title, though – he ain’t no softie), the converted space has blue and white-chequered cloths on the tables, ceiling-mounted heat lamps and so many fairy lights illuminating the place it’s as if Elton John has decided to try his hand at interior decorating. My friend and I take our seats in the corner of the restaurant, the perfect spot for covetously eyeing the plates and platters that are served to neighbouring tables and the courteous waiter supplies us with a couple of glasses of Prosecco to begin our meal. It’s been a long time since lunch and Secret Garden starts seguing into Hungry Heart as my appetite grows, but the waiter, perhaps hearing my stomach growl from across the room, offers up a bowl of giant green olives and a triplet of chilli meatballs with a cool tzatziki dip to nibble on while we pore over the menu. Loving it already.
The table of girls next to us have a sharing board that’s groaning with gorgeous-looking seafood and this inspires us to get into the communal spirit, so we decide to share a couple of starters before ordering the two steaks on the menu, bavelle and rib-eye, to split between us. A flame-grilled mackerel fillet lies on top of a generous puddle of yoghurt and fresh horseradish cream, the fish cooked perfectly pink inside yet crisped on the exterior. Three wedges of baked beetroot add to the bold, fresh and simple matching of flavours, creating a curious and exciting starter. Even more brave is the heavily-citric smoked aubergine that has a steel-toed kick to it, the chef clearly unafraid to go all out on the spice factor; it’s paired with three wedges of particularly chewy grilled halloumi and is an adventurous vegetarian’s dream dish. A glass of Bodegas Castro Martin 2012 matches the two plates perfectly.
Before the chorus of the main course kicks in, we enjoy a little resting bridge and admire the layout of the restaurant; the Magical Courtyard lies behind a cosy restaurant that seems as if has been converted from a flat, with bedroom walls knocked through to make way for a bar. Elton’s clearly been consulted on the lavatory furnishings too, as the single-toilet bathroom is lit by sensor-activated fairy lights, a darling touch. This warm sense of domesticity and home comforts is truly appealing to both local regulars and newcomers alike and I can see why Megan’s has been a successful West London stalwart for the last 13 years.
The steaks arrive with a bang and they’re served with tiny pots of an authentically spicy chimichurri and a rich béarnaise sauce. The hand-cut bavette steak has been massaged with thyme before being roasted on the lava coal grill (yep, you heard me – it’s a steak of volcanic proportions…) and the inside is so pink and tender that it looks as though the kitchen team have Rocky Balboa locked in the fridge on pummelling duty. The rib-eye is cooked more towards medium which has allowed the fat to render, the marbling of the meat looking incredibly impressive and tasting even better. A cluster of thinly cut fries taste impossibly healthy, not drenched in fat yet still retaining a crisp, earthy flavour that matches well with the robust meat. A bowl of garlic-tinged sautéed spinach and a side of soft, piquant chilli-flecked sweet potato wedges also chime in for good measure and we wash it all down with a few glasses of ruby-red, fruity Izadi, Reserva Rioja 2010.
With just enough room left to squeeze in a shared dessert, we decide on the baked vanilla cheesecake, which is mercifully light, its soft cream topped with a sweetened blueberry compote set off by the tang of lemon curd. Undertones of marzipan hint at a little amaretto being added to the crunchy base mixture and the whole dish is a beautiful coda that plays us out magnificently.
It’s tough to fault Megan’s, even if you wanted to; two very pretty waitresses keep our tables filled with delicious food and a friendly waiter ensures that our glasses are always brimming with well-paired wine throughout the evening; all we need is a trilby-donned Frenchman sitting in the corner plucking away on a mandolin and we could be on the continent.
With a new site opening in St John’s Wood in the summer, we’ll certainly be returning to welcome Megan’s family into their new abode. Whether Elton will get the decorating contract again is unknown, but I’ll be happy to go, fairy lights or not, even if we’re just, uh, Dancing In The Dark.
David Harfield is a freelance food and travel writer and the director of the social media solutions company PepperStorm Media
Photographs courtesy of Megan’s Deli & Restaurant
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Need to book||Advisable|
|Restaurant good for||Couples, Families with children, Meeting up with friends, Outdoor seating|
|Cost per head||Medium|
|Dining Options||Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner|
Very friendly staff.
Pop in during the day for a very reasonably priced lunch or brunch with sharing boards starting from £11. Brunch Grill dishes from £12.95. Lunchtime Grills from £6.95 (medium) and £10.95 with salad. Salads from £7.50. Evening Grills from £14. Prosecco from £6.50 a glass, £27 a bottle. Bellini from £7.95. Wine from £4.25 a glass, £18 a bottle.
Last updated on 05-05-2015