Simon Wittenberg ventures to North West London to try out the new food menu at the recently-opened Heads + Tails cocktail bar.
Heads + Tails opened last November on one of NW6’s main thoroughfares, West End Lane, and stands on the site once occupied by Gordon Stevenson’s “Lately” nightclub.
The new cocktail bar is the work of industry experts and long-term collaborators, Will Partridge (formerly of Wax Jambu and Kilburn Ironworks), and Chris Dennis (of Brixton’s Sovereign Loss and Soho’s Disrepute). The cleverly conceived name was chosen for this establishment, as there are effectively two venues at one location. You will find “Heads” at street level, whilst “Tails” graces the basement. Each has its own drinks menu, and supposedly, there’s no need to flip a coin here, as visitors win by going to either.
Heads, where we took our seats, has a light and airy décor which combines pastel blue and gold seating with a marble-topped bar. When the weather allows, there’s also an outdoor space at the rear which accommodates a further 60 people. Tails, downstairs, is a comparatively darker and more dimly-lit area. It has a completely different vibe, and is for guests wanting to enjoy an evening cocktail, and be entertained by music from the likes of Led Zeppelin.
On the subject of drinks, there’s a good amount of choice as you would expect. Served from 12 pm, there’s low-alcohol serves and Aperitivo-style beverages, such as Everlong (£5), which is made of Everleaf non-alcoholic spirit with elderflower cordial, and the citrus-flavoured West End Spritz (£9). In contrast, at Tails, the offerings here are more bourbon, scotch and rum-based.
In terms of food, the brunch menu has only been going since mid-April and is available to order all weekend from 10 am to 3 pm. It’s a very brief selection, and all dishes are cooked outside by Adele and her colleague on a gas stove, whilst Heads + Tails experiments with the new concept. However, for a leisurely Sunday morning with a newspaper in hand, and a bite to eat, it’s certainly pleasant enough, and brunch seemed to draw the young and trendy West Hampstead crowd.
There are five “Mains” on offer, spanning Merguez sausages to homemade granola with basil yoghurt, and are mostly priced at a reasonable £5. Upon reaching our culinary conclusions, I headed for the deconstructed aubergine Shakshouka with a side of smashed avocado and some harissa yoghurt. It had a mildly spicy kick to it, but was nicely cooked with chickpeas and plenty of tomatoes. My other half tried the citrusy smashed avocado on blackened charcoal sourdough toast (an interesting concept) with vine tomatoes, and a clean plate was duly left.
I then followed this with a couple of “Additions”, namely a helping of smooth smoked salmon plus some creamy scrambled eggs with chives on charcoal toast – it was delicious. My guest finished off her brunch with some dairy-free scrambled eggs accompanied by freshly brewed tea and a small glass bottle of oat milk. The dishes aren’t huge at Heads + Tails, and therefore you need at least a couple of Mains to start the day on something relatively substantial. We also sampled the refreshing freshly squeezed clementine juice (priced at £4.50 a glass).
Considering the relatively basic cooking equipment, all the food that we tried was very well prepared, full of flavour, and the service at Heads + Tails was equally efficient and welcoming. It wasn’t teeming with people when we went from 11 am onwards, and therefore it’s relaxed enough to have a decent conversation without the regular noise of a busy bar. All-in-all, with this new formula of brunch, and from what we saw and experienced first-hand, it’s a nice little addition to West Hampstead’s dining scene.
With an evening food offering beckoning at the end of May, I’m sure that Heads + Tails will certainly continue to coin it in!
Heads + Tails – Where and How?
Heads + Tails is located at 175 West End Lane, London NW6 2LH, United Kingdom. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.headsandtails.bar.
See pictures of what we ate on our Instagram page.