One to Note: The Kingston 1 – The Kingston 1 is a new business venture, the brainchild of local businessmen, who took a previously rather sad and tired pub in the heart of Kingston upon Thames and injected new life into the place. The result’s a stylish boutique hotel (with 22 bedrooms), restaurant and bar that are a real breath of fresh air on the London Road. A short walk from central Kingston, the riverside and station, The Kingston 1’s ideally placed for anyone wanting to visit or attend events at Hampton Court, Wimbledon, Ham Polo Club and lots of other SW London locations.
We checked in on a Friday evening and found our room to be light and airy, very classy indeed, with en suite shower room stocked with The White Company toiletries and all the amenities one would expect from a top hotel. Décor is contemporary, stylish, and includes individual design features. Considering the building is Victorian, they’ve done a great job, without losing many of the original features.
Moving downstairs for dinner in Solo, The Kingston 1’s modern European restaurant, we enjoyed a beer and an extremely good Negroni prepared by our waiter Kennet and studied the menu. Head chef Marco Palazzo is at the helm, with the restaurant open from breakfast to dinner, offering relaxed, competitively priced, all-day dining. On Friday and Saturday evenings though, it changes to his Chef’s Menu – a grander offering, more fine dining in style. Sensibly short, it’s extremely well (and temptingly) compiled. We started with a portion of burrata, pea & broad bean with chilli & mint (£10) plus a seafood Scotch egg, served with salsa verde and nasturtium (£12). My burrata was refreshing, yet slightly too light on seasonings for my taste, but my husband’s Scotch egg was a triumph of culinary prowess – and delicious!
We followed with a portion of lobster, scallop, chorizo and peperonata (£26) and a fillet steak, burnt onion purée and beef & red wine sauce (£24). Both dishes were fabulous, and further evidence of great skill at the stove. With my fish dish I enjoyed an exceptionally good salad packed with little gem lettuce, strips of cucumber and generous scattering of Parmesan; and rosemary salt fries accompanied the steak. (Sides £4) On the menu there was also a chicken dish (£18), and a vegetarian pasta dish (£16). Pretty much replete by this stage, we shared a portion of orange polenta cake (£6) that was divine. The cheese board at £14 is great value.
The cocktail and wine list, too, are well constructed and very sensibly priced… wines from £22 a bottle and soft drinks from just £2. Cocktails from £9 and if Kennet’s on duty, I urge you to try one: he’s a dab hand at mixology!
After an excellent, and very comfortable, night’s sleep, we ventured down to breakfast. The menu’s also available to non-residents and the perfect place for a brunch (and cocktails) as it’s served at weekends till 4 p.m. (noon weekdays). After consuming a delicious portion of eggs Benedict, freshly squeezed orange juice and excellent coffee, we were well set up for the day. For its individuality, plus friendly, professional staff it is a great addition to the Kingston hotel scene, for business as well as tourists (or ‘overflow’ guests visiting family!).
If you were planning to meet up with friends that side of Kingston, I would thoroughly recommend you check out The Kingston 1. The locals now have a great bar and restaurant on their doorstep… lucky folk!