Tel: +44 (0)20 7938 5338
Address: 1a Phillimore Gardens, Kensington, W8 7EG
Cuisine Type: American
High Street Kensington
To imagine this American-diner style eaterie, owned by Bill Wyman, think Hard Rock Café meets Rolling Stones museum. This is an unashamed tribute to fame, celebrity and rock ‘n’ roll, from the walls lined with memorabilia from the band’s history to the page on the Sticky Fingers website listing all the celebrities spotted dining here. It doesn’t get much cheesier than this, but if eating at Sticky Fingers ain’t enough, you can buy the T-shirt too. No, seriously, you can. Along with the sweatshirt and cap.
The staff are scarily cheerful (scary because it appears to be genuine), always ready with jocular jokes and anodyne anecdotes, and stopping by your table to ask if everything is OK just a little too often. For birthdays, they sing Happy Birthday with the kind of enthusiasm normally reserved for Elvis impersonators and monarchists crooning the national anthem. On the night of our visit, they belted out their third rendition with the same gusto as the first. Where do they find these people?
Fortunately, we were in the mood for a fun place that doesn’t take itself too seriously and helped ourselves along the way with pitchers of beer and cocktails from a list that covers classic, long, virgin and shooters.
We skipped starters (nachos, buffalo wings, potato skins and the like, £5-£10) in expectation of the American size portions. After all, there used to be an item on the menu called “Too much pork for just one fork”. The current food-fest platter, “Beggar’s Banquet”, comprises a whole rack of ribs, an entire chicken and piles of chips, onion rings and coleslaw (as the token vegetable component), intended for two to share but, according to our waiter, has occasionally been ordered and eaten by one. The two lads who ordered this (between them, you’ll be relieved to hear) started off at a good pace, but struggled to maintain the momentum towards the end, and eventually conceded defeat. Even the plates of ribs (the Bourbon glazed are particularly good), complete with mountain of chips, are hefty portions.
If steaks, burgers, roast chicken and ribs aren’t your thing, be warned, there are no light meals here, as even salads are super-sized. My tuna niçoise came topped with a substantial slab of fresh tuna, seared for a smoky charcoal finish yet succulent inside, but could have done with better dressed leaves (untouched on top, oil drenched at the bottom) and lightly blanched green beans (which really aren’t pleasant raw).
We were too full for a dessert each (about £5), particularly as they are of the rich and filling variety (cheesecake, banana split, chocolate fudge brownie), so ordered one sticky toffee pudding between four, only to find it disappointingly dry and overly cloying after a heavy meal.
Sticky Fingers is good for parties and caters well for kids; for other visits, reduce the risk of disappointment by limiting your expectations to average food at above average prices.