Sticky Fingers

1A Phillimore Gardens, Kensington London W8 7QG

To survive in the restaurant business for almost ten years is a sure sign that things are being done right, which appears to be the case with Sticky Fingers, the brainchild of former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman. Clones of the 150 seater rock theme restaurant in Kensington can also be found in Cambridge and Manchester and the whole operation shows no sign of slowing down. The walls are filled with Rolling Stones memorabilia such as guitars, photographs and concert posters, and just like the Hard Rock Cafe, a thriving merchandising setup keeps the cash registers busy. It is naturally a tourist hangout but it's often used for private celebrations and music industry bashes. Wyman himself pops by every three weeks or so, and the word is that he was not too happy about Babe Ruth's getting the theme restaurant award last month over his creation.

Executive chef David Needes offers a good range of food on the menu such as burgers, chicken, ribs, sandwiches, steaks, fish and chilli. The portions are generous and the aptly named Beggars' Banquet at 10.95 features a tantalizing selection of whole roast chicken, Ribs, Bar-B-Q Chicken Wings, Cornchips, Salsa, Guacamole, Salad, Garlic Bread and lots of the restaurant's excellent crispy fries. As I was with two companions on a busy lunchtime that generally only slows down after 2 pm, we shared a starter of Smoked Salmon Blinis (4.95) with buckwheat pancakes and creme fraiche. Nice thick portions of Nova Scotia salmon made this a good selection and extremely good value.

The seating at Sticky Fingers however is a bit of a downer being far too cramped. The seats in the booths were very close to the table making access difficult, especially for those unfortunates of ample girth.

Next, I went for the Chargrilled Burger (7.45) served in a sesame seed bun, fries and a crisp salad with balsamic vinegar dressing (there are six other dressings to choose from). The meat was 100% pure beef and tasted it, cooked perfectly with the bun just right and not too soggy. My two companions opted for a Cajun Chicken sandwich (7.95) and a Caesar salad (6.95). The chicken came with alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, tomato and red roasted pepper mayo in a fresh baked ciabatta. It certainly looked like a tasty delight and there was also plenty of it, although she felt that the chicken was a little too dry. No complaints however about the Caesar salad which combined a crisp romaine lettuce with classic parmesan cheese, anchovies and garlic croutons.

We were all pretty full after the main courses but were persuaded to try the exotic sounding Funky Banoffi Pie for dessert (3.50). Vanilla ice-cream, bananas, roasted nuts, fresh cream on a biscuit base with toffee and chocolate sauce. It's amazing how widespread banoffi has become ever since Nigel Mackenzie claimed to have invented it in his genteel Sussex restaurant, The Hungry Monk, back in the Stone's original hay-day!

There was plenty to choose from in the drinks department, with cocktails priced at 4.95 and a choice of about ten wines to select from. The House wine is a Vin de Pays de Comte Tolosan at 9.45 which comes in shades of red or white. Bill Wyman's team is doing a good job, even if the menu is rather safe and unadventurous, the quality and execution of the food is OK. So, if you have never been to Sticky Fingers then check it out and have a pretty good time.

Tel 0171-938-5338 Fax 0171-937-7238
Opening Hours - Daily noon until 11.30pm (Sundays 11pm) Happy Hour: 5pm-7pm weekdays.
12.5% service charge added to all bills (they call it a gratuity, which it can't be because you've no choice - it's added on! I think this is an example of an oxymoron).
All major credit cards No cigar smoking Nearest tube-Kensington High st. Parking-Meters outside restaurant 20p for eight minutes-limited space.
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This article reprinted from Dine Online