Jason Allen 24/05/24


There aren’t many stories which start with a knackered builder’s yard and end with Tina Turner dancing on the tables, but the legend of Julie’s is one of them.

First opened back in 1969 by designer Julie Hodgess, it rapidly became one of West London’s most notoriously raucous restaurants, where everyone from Paul McCartney to Princess Diana, Sean Connery, and Kate Moss came to let their hair down. The most recent chapters in the tale, however, ended on a cliffhanger – after closing in 2015, the place reopened just in time for its 50th birthday, before pulling down the shutters once more at the end of 2022.

Well, now it’s back. And something tells us it’s going to be sticking around for a while.

Julie’s is now under the steer of local owner Tara MacBain, who grew up running around the tables here at big family lunches. Now that she’s at the helm, she’s artfully balanced an affectionate nostalgia for the old Julie’s with the feel of a fresh new start, and lofty ambitions in the kitchen.

Julie's terrace

The famous terrace still sits out front, with tables of glass-clinking groups, a cascade of festoon lighting and those signature rust-coloured awnings beckoning you in. Step across the threshold and you’ll find yourself immersed in opulence, from the velvet banquettes and richly patterned cushions to the gold floral light fittings and maximalist printed wallpaper. The minutest details, right down to the hand-blown glassware, feel luxurious, with enough quirky touches like the shell-lined cocktail bar at the back to keep it playful. Even the staff are stylishly kitted out, and it’s their natural warmth and attention to detail that makes dining here so enjoyable. Plenty of people in this dining room have likely been coming here for years, and the team will soon have you feeling like a regular, too.

And you’ll probably want to become one, because Julie’s has scored a coup in engaging Brawn and The Pelican‘s Owen Kenworthy as Chef Patron. His time spent leading the kitchens in some of the capital’s most acclaimed restaurants, alongside an unwavering commitment to conscientious sourcing from sustainable and regenerative farms, means that the menu here is studded with gems.

julie's restaurant

Lobster soufflé

Styled after French brasseries, it’s a traditional three-course affair (though you shouldn’t skimp on the snacks – the spider crab toast is a twist on his invention for The Pelican, with mouthwatering crab meat spooned into a short pastry case). And while it’s very easy to be decadent with the likes of oyster platters, tete de veau carpaccio and lobster soufflé (a real highlight), you could come to Julie’s a week before payday and still feel like royalty: there is currently, somehow, a main for £10.

Julie's restaurant downstairs

In that spirit, there’s an impressive selection of wines available by the glass – and head sommelier Chris is a beacon of knowledge if you’re feeling stumped by the list. Then there’s the quartet of house martinis served up from a roaming trolley, as well as signature cocktails, a couple of bespoke house lagers, and a healthy stock of Champagnes.

And at Julie’s, it always feels like there’s something to celebrate.


NOTE: Julie’s is open now – you can find out more, and book a table, HERE.

Julie’s | 135 Portland Road, W11 4LW

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135 Portland Road, Holland Park, W11 4LW

020 7229 8331

8.7 | Great