As most of you will undoubtedly know, one of the main advantages of working at a hotel in Kensington is the diversity of nationalities and cultures you come into contact with. No other city quite rivals London for being a tourist destination – at least in my opinion – and working at the very heart of it (and in a hotel, no less!) gives me the opportunity to get to know guests from all over the world. It’s absolutely wonderful!
The other day, for instance, I was talking to a charming couple from Portugal who were staying at the hotel. We were comparing the British and Portuguese gastronomies, and they were telling me they were not big fans of the relatively bland, drab menu most British restaurants have – they missed the flavourful Portuguese dishes! Having had the pleasure to try some of those dishes when I visited Portugal a few years ago, I could completely understand their plight and – because I could tell they would obviously not be happy to settle for Nando’s – let them in on a little secret: the fact that, not a stone’s throw from the hotel in Kensington inside which we were having this conversation, there were not one, but two Portuguese restaurants!
They were, of course, absolutely delighted to learn this, and immediately wanted to know which of the two I recommended. This was where, unfortunately, my ability to help them ended, as I have only ever been inside one. This was the O Fado, located quite close to the museums, in between Kensington and Chelsea. For that particular restaurant, I was able to inform the couple of its charming, unassuming atmosphere and relatively affordable prices – surprisingly so, in fact, especially considering it is a tourist-driven restaurant in Central London!
The other establishment (the one I have never eaten at yet) is called the Caravela, and while I didn’t know that much about it, I gave my charming customers the honest opinion that they should try both, to see how they liked each of them, I was delighted when they came back later and told me they had had lunch at O Fado and dinner at Caravela, and found them both immensely satisfying. They even expressed delight at the fact that the prices were not that much higher than what they would pay in a comparable restaurant back home.
This type of occurrence is precisely what makes me love my job as the concierge for a hotel in Kensington!