In 1969, interior designer Julie Hodgess bought a builder’s yard in Holland Park, with plans to turn it into a restaurant.
One thing led to another, and soon Tina Turner was dancing on the tables.
Why? Because she felt comfortable there. You see, Julie had turned her interior design skills towards turning the place into a veritable honeycomb of secluded, intimate spaces all dressed in her light, verdant style. Thanks to that privacy, for decades diners included everyone from Paul McCartney to Princess Diana, to Sean Connery, to Kate Moss, to Nicole Kidman, to, …well you get the idea.
The only reason they stopped coming? The place closed in 2015.
Now, it’s back for its 50th birthday.
It’s been completely refurbished from top to bottom by Julie herself. She’s kept the stained glass windows, and the gothic wood carvings, and most importantly: the concealed dining spaces hidden by curtains, mirrors, and well-placed plants. It’s still nevertheless quite light, and there are regular bursts of colour coming from the soft, plush chairs, upholstered in intricate Pakistani kilim tapestry.
The kitchen’s been upgraded too, with Michelin Star-winning chef Shay Cooper (who ran the dining room at The Goring before Nathan Outlaw took over) serving up a modern British menu of interesting dishes like buttermilk fried quail; a verdant, deep green bowl of charred kale risotto topped with some crab; and some glazed ox cheek with aged sirloin of beef. For dessert, you can’t beat the fig leaf panna cotta.
Completing the look is the champagne bar, which much as you might imagine, features a vast list of bubbly on standby by both the glass and the bottle.
Of course if you do spot anyone famous, remember to put a cork in it.
NOTE: Julie’s is now Monday-Sunday, 12-2.15pm and 6-10.15pm. You can find out more, and book a table, right HERE.
Julie’s | 135 Portland Road, W11 4LW
Like old-school celeb haunts? Make a visit to Daphne’s