At first Kitchen W8, in Kensington, didn’t grab my attention. The restaurant’s white table cloths, soft mood lighting and contemporary art seemed pleasant but cliché.
This décor, however, later created an excellent blank canvas for the restaurant’s visually stunning culinary masterpieces.
A delicious and exhilarating array of dishes began with complimentary fresh sour dough breads, creamy butter and delicate, beautifully seasoned salted cod balls.
I selected from a £25.00 set menu which gave me two options for each of the three courses.
To start I opted for a Beetroot and spicy chickpea salad.
The winning combinations and ornate presentation really showcased the skills of head chef Mark Kempson and gave me the first glimpse into why this restaurant has been awarded the infamous Michelin star.
The dish was beautifully constructed. The striking texture of the spicy chickpea puree combined with the sweet succulent beetroot, peppery crispy paper-thin radishes, and crunchy mini croutons created a tongue tantalising delight.
The beetroot was so far removed from the nasty over pickled beetroot that many people will be familiar with, it has given me a whole new appreciation for the common garden beet. It was, in fact, so delicious it has left me wanting more ever since.
For the main course I chose the flat iron steak on a bed of spinach with oxtail boulangere potatoes.
My first impression of the dish was that it was aesthetically alluring with a bright yellow flash of butternut squash puree framing the succulent steak.
The beef was cooked to perfection with a beautifully pink centre but what really set this dish apart were the accompaniments.
The thin layers of succulent oxtail among the finely sliced potatoes added a beautiful richness to the buttery sweet, melt-in-your-mouth boulangere potatoes and the sweet juis married the flavours beautifully.
The dish as a whole was thoroughly enjoyable and was an excellent example of the restaurants ‘English style with a French soul’.
Next up was the dessert. This was the only disappointment of the meal. Neither of the choices on the set menu really jumped out at me and in the end I opted for the passion fruit sorbet. While it was nice it was uninspiring and three big scoops seemed a little unnecessary and disproportionate to the rest of the meal.
The restaurant swiftly redeemed itself, however, by bringing out a small plate of truffles – creamy molten chocolate in an eggshell- thin coating sprinkled with dark coco powder.
At the end of the meal I was happy to find I was totally satisfied despite a slight panic over the portion sizes at the beginning.
The overall standard of the food was exceptional especially considering the very affordable price of the meal.
Owners Philip Howard and Rebecca Mascarenhas, who source fresh ingredients from all over Britain, said that their benchmark for success is to send you back into the world feeling better than when you arrived.
I certainly felt better and not only will I be returning, to try every single delight on their menu, I will be recommending Kitchen W8 to anyone that will listen.
Kitchen W8, 11-13 Abingdon Road, London, W8 6AH
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 12– 2:30pm; 6pm – 10:30pm, Sunday: 12:30pm – 3pm; 6:30pm – 9:30pm
The set menu in the article is available between 6-7pm in the evening Mon-Fri, priced at £22.00 for two courses and £25.00 for three.
For reservations call 0207 937 0120
For example menus go to www.kitchenw8.com