For lunch or dinner, 202 is a fashionable and comfortable spot on Westbourne Grove.
Part of the Nicole Farhi empire, 202 is half cafe, half shop, where you can buy just about anything – from clothes to furniture to tableware. The cafe area is towards the rear of the ground floor, through a display of clothes, tables and chairs. It almost looks like you’re in the home of a laid back, effortlessly cool fashion designer – there’s a New York-style loft feel to the place, which makes sense as the other 202 location is on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan. The floors are a rustic pale wood, tables and chairs are mismatched and a little rickety, and long oval mirrors, large columns and industrial lighting completes the look. There’s also a small basement area packed with coats, plates, glasses and loads more things to buy.
Despite the fact that this is a designer shop, there’s a very relaxed feel to the place. Expect the main customer base to be shoppers, but local families with young children also occasionally make an appearance. Staff are charmingly professional without being stiff or formal.
Whilst originally known for its brunches and lunches, 202 has recently introduced evening service along with a new dinner menu. With most starters at about £8 and most mains at about £12, it’s well priced for both dinner and the local Notting Hill area. Nearly everything on the menu sounds wholesome and the list is heavy on the salads, which dominate the starters and are also available as a main. A list of specials on a chalkboard extend the choices.
Portions are large, especially the fish tacos (£11.50), which includes two enormously large tacos almost bursting from their soft shells, packed with flaky fish and a tangy, fresh, coriander heavy salsa. Despite the fact that it’s a large dish, you get the feeling that it’s quite healthy, dispelling the notion that most Mexican food is full of fat. Likewise, a Moroccan chicken and chickpea salad (£12.50) tastes nice and healthy, with thin slices of juicy roasted chicken fanned out on top of a bed of plump chickpeas and sweet roasted peppers. The addition of lemon juice gives the dish a sharp kick, and the side of pale pink tzatziki is creamy and refreshing. Desserts are priced at £6.95 include a hot, filling fruit crumble of soft and sweet apples and peaches and a chocolate pot with espresso cream. The latter is like an incredibly rich mousse, but the portion is huge – a third of the size would be perfect.
There’s a short but sweet wine list, with interesting bottles from across the globe. Every choice of white, rose and red is available by small and large glass, with prices from £4.60, whilst bottles start from a reasonable £17.50. A glass of Unwooded Chardonnay from Chile is light, clear and fresh, whereas a Michel Torino Merlot from Argentina has a deep cherry flavour. Beers, sodas and freshly squeezed juices as well as a strong amount of teas are available as well.
The Last Word
Get your food and fashion fix in one spot, morning, noon or night, at 202.