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The World’s End Market Restaurant and a Walk Down Memory Lane:
I was not the sort of teenager who would sneak out of my dorm to go and see the Sex Pistols at the Haymarket in Leicester. Far too shy, I idolised those girls in my year who did just that and never seemed to get caught. The ultimate cool. It wasn’t until I was at University that I went to my first rock concert and even then I was a reluctant rocker. I did, however, date a boy in a band. He was playing with Pete Townsend from The Who’s younger brother, Simon. All of a sudden I was catapulted into a Brave New World.
You don’t look much like a pop-star’s girlfriend. We need to take you to World’s End and get you some new clothes
At the time (1980) Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren’s shop at the wrong end of the King’s Road had just renamed itself as ‘World’s End’. There was a clock outside that went backwards. To a country girl like me, the clothes looked like charity shop rejects. And, having been dragged there kicking and screaming, I really couldn’t see myself wearing any of it. I seem to remember refusing to actually try anything on, opting instead for a pink, white and pale blue mini-sweater-dress with a keyboard and the words ‘Rock and Roll’ knitted across the boobs. Ironically, the dress, designed to inflame all the feminists at Sussex Uni, came from Liberated Lady, just across the road. A pair of pink stiletto cowboy boots with 6 inch heels from Midas made up my outfit and while I couldn’t actually walk anywhere in the heels, I could and did pose with the confidence of youth.
Walking down the King’s Road on a sunny afternoon for lunch it was hard not to reminisce. In that context the World’s End Market Restaurant, just a few doors down at 459, seems wrong. It’s far too safe a place – grown-up, fuss free food in an environment that should suit everyone from rebellious teens through to your mother in law. But who wants a political dining experience?
The perfect place to meet Mina from KingsRoadRocks for lunch, she tells me it is just around the corner from where she works. Although it was quiet when we arrived at 12.30, by 1.00pm it was pleasantly lively. Evenings, she says, are generally even busier. After a few minutes admiring the decor and chatting up the lively lobster who clearly thought the best way to avoid being eaten was to keep (trying) to move, we sat down for a glass of fizz before ordering our meal. The fresh seafood looked very tempting and both of us chose raw dishes. In my case the carpaccio of Scottish Salmon with horseradish, shallots, lemon and truffle oil was delicious and fresh, though the lemon and horseradish dominated to such an extent you could blink and miss the truffle. Mina’s seabass tartare came with salted capers, gherkin and a very lightly poached egg. I did taste and I did enjoy, though I suspect a full plate of all that egginess would have been too much for me.
All main courses are grilled in a Josper and served with French fries and a house salad. There are sides too if you think you need them, but even choosing the smallest steak on the menu (a 7oz fillet), I would have been hard pressed to eat any more. Although the bearnaise I’d asked for wasn’t available, I was happy with home made horseradish sauce. I’d rather a restaurant didn’t resort to jars of sauces if the kitchen runs out of home-made.
Meanwhile Mina picked the Skate Wings – a generous helping of fish in lemon caper butter with a salsa verde on the side.
It’s perhaps worth mentioning that the options for vegetarians are quite limited. There are three starters but only one main other than the veggie burger – courgette stuffed with tomatoes, pine nuts and goats cheese. Where The World’s End Market excels is in very good quality meat and fish. The meat is properly aged and stored while the fish is on display with sourcing clearly marked on the menu. Whole lobster, should you choose it, is £27.50 and sourced from Canada. All the meat is British, beef from Surrey, chicken from Norfolk and lamb from Devon. There is also a great burger menu with everything from a classic to a truffled burger, priced around the £10.00.
By now we were ordering wine by the glass. Mina chose a glass of German Reisling Dragonstone, while I opted for the Chilean Carmenere. There’s a reasonable mixture of wines on offer including a few organic bottles and a selection of fine wines starting at £60 for a bottle of Chateay Mayne Lalande 2002. There’s an extensive spirits list and a well priced cocktail list starting at £8.00 for classics and rising to £9.00 for Market specials. There’s also an excellent selection of teas and coffees, even my favourite jasmine silver tip, more often seen in hotels serving afternoon teas.
Of course there’s also a pudding list. Neither of us hesitated, despite relatively substantial food already consumed. My chocolate fondant was beautifully cooked with just the right amount of gooeyness, Mina’s red velvet cake was beautifully colourful and looked nicely textured.
This is the kind of place where to refuse would seem churlish. Even if my hips might be regretting it, my head certainly didn’t.
We both thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The World’s End Market goes beyond being a neighbourhood restaurant, despite being slightly awkward to reach. It’s somewhere to spend time with friends over a meal, a destination in it’s own right for anyone who loves well sourced, simply cooked good food.
With many thanks for the opportunity to review to The World’s End Market
The World’s End Market
459 King’s Road
London SW10 0LR