Visitors to London are always faced with the “sticker-price shock” of eating in one of the world’s most expensive cities. I remember on one of my first visits of being horrified at the price of two pounds for one cookie from a bakery in a very touristy area. If I find a restaurant that’s reasonably priced, delicious and memorable, that is the basis of a blog post to share.
In a very pricey part of London is a pub with a hidden surprise, as The Churchill Arms serves unexpected Thai food inside a traditional British pub. Located not far from the Notting Hill Gate tube station, The Churchill Arms has been in business since 1750. This pub was apparently popular with Winston Churchill’s grandparents during the 1800s and was thus given its current name following World War II.
The food at The Churchill Arms was recommended to me by some friends and to my amazement, this pub serves some of the best Thai food I’ve ever tasted, at prices of roughly 8.50 pounds per plate—a great bargain by London standards. One plate will easily serve as a full meal. Visitors to this pub will not expect that in the back is almost a gardening shed with live plants covering the ceiling and walls, along with pictures of Bangkok’s Grand Palace and other Thai landmarks mixed in between to decorate the restaurant area.
Tables are tightly packed together as lines will be waiting for this delicious food which includes Pad Thai (Thai noodles), rice dishes, various curries (including duck), stir-fried dishes including Pad Prik (stir-fried with onions) and Pad Ped (stir-fried with red chili) as well as one of my favorites, Pad Priew Waan (or basically a stir-fry of sweet and sour sauce, meats and vegetables). Be sure to try the prawn crackers or spring rolls for side dishes as both are good. Visitors are given the option on most dishes to choose meats (usually pork, chicken, prawns or beef) or to opt for vegetarian.
The atmosphere in this pub is relaxing, with a fireplace lit in the main pub, while in the back gardening restaurant area, lanterns hang from the ceiling and framed butterflies are everywhere. Even a large poster of English gardener, Alan Titchmarsh, hangs on the walls.
I have been pleased to see mainly locals eating at this pub during the times I have visited. For visitors to London, this pub is just a short distance from Kensington Palace and an easy walk (and a great break) from sightseeing. Visitors may have to wait for a table (this pub is popular) but service is fast, friendly and efficient.
The Thai food at The Churchill Arms is authentic and a treat that a visitor would not expect in a traditional London pub. With a mix of London’s River Thames meeting Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, the end result is fantastic mix of two cultures. When someone asks me the question as to where to eat for a good value in London for a sit-down meal, my enthusiastic response is The Churchill Arms.
The Churchill Arms
119 Kensington Church Street
London W8 7LN