The Princess Royal, bathed in Notting Hill sunlight on one of the hottest days of the year, cuts a picture straight out of any Hollywood movie. The frontage, a Victorian green given depth and life by layers of deep foliage, is recreated on the menu so prettily that I contemplate stealing one and framing it. Inside it is more restaurant than pub or even gastropub, using the same colour palate and attention to detail, winding through the dining room, into the wooden side room – more ornate conservatory than bricks and mortar – and out on to terrace, designed by Jinny Blom no less, and typically rich with lush plants. It is beautiful. A sanctuary in West London. Unsurprisingly, it is where we sit. 
It is part of the Cubitt House Group, from Ben Tish, a chef whose food I haven’t eaten since Salt Yard but have admired from afar for an age. Loosely Mediterranean, the menu is reliant on high quality produce to lead with some solid technique and attention to detail. As appealing as any you are likely to read, it would be impossible to choose lunch had a few options not sold out. Still, there are harder tasks to be given in life. We start with negroni, one traditional, another perfumed with rose wine. There is more rose wine from an excellent wine list, and a viognier, and a trio of two-sip martinis that have ruined afternoon written all over them. They do drinks well here. They seem to everything well here. 
The key to that success is doing little to what they have and knowing when to stop. The highest in quality smoked anchovies arrive simply on toast with soft boiled quail’s eggs and tangles of pickled onion, whilst Padron peppers are shown heat under to the skin resembles an OAP spending the winter in Benidorm. There is ‘nduja, not whipped like the menu description but still none the worst for it, drizzled in honey and lumped onto fennel biscuits that sing of anise with every bite. White crab meat is bound in a light mayo using the brown meat. It comes with fresh peas, chilli, and a dusting of bread crumbs fried in olive oil. It seems only fair to work the mixture on to the impeccable focaccia. 
From the lunch menu comes ruler-lengths of hake fried in panko breadcrumbs, as if it were Salad Fingers determining the size and curvature for the fish goujons. With them are garlic fries we barely touch, and the most textbook of both aioli and Romanesco sauces. That Romanesco is good enough to be bottled and sold;  smoky, nutty and with a good glug of acidity, it is the perfect foil for the meaty fish. Better, actually much better, is the gnocchi. Fluffy and pain fried, it needs little more than a good glug of bright olive oil, and some fried chickpeas, sage, and chilli to bob in. A dusting of parmesan and lemon zest finish off a dish that I’ll take on at home and likely fail miserably at. This is the kind of culinary simplicity I live for. 
Desserts are maybe a fraction short of where they’d want to be at present. Donuts are lovely light things, though the lemon curd isn’t quite sharp enough and I still don’t think the saffron custard dip is needed. I much preferred the creme brullee rice pudding, but even that suffers from the seasonal switch from rhubarb to strawberry. Cinnamon and strawberry just aren’t a pleasant combination to eat, however good the rest is, proof that being seasonal requires more thought than a menu tweak. 
Service is wonderful from start to finish. They really are on it, no one more than Valentina who exudes the sort of quiet charm that Michelin starred restaurants kill for. And with that lunch is done, leaving a more than a little tipsy and not wanting anymore food for at least twenty-four hours. Afterwards we walk towards Portobello Market, taking the route past Daylesford Organic branch where I had a disappointing twenty-five-quid salad eight years ago. I know where I’d rather be eating in this area. The Princess Royal is excellent.