The art of the smear
Kitchen W8 is the only restaurant to take bookings on the particular Friday that I am left scrambling for one. Usually I’m organized enough to secure one of the restaurants off my swelling list, but after dozens of rejections the flat sounding Kitchen W8 is beginning to look viable. After an easy 7:30pm booking, its once desolate name seems as harmonious to my ears as a babes gargle.
Although Kitchen W8 is a self-proclaimed neighbourhood joint, its Kensington location is indicative that this declaration should be taken with a large helping of salt. To quell any lingering doubt, one look at the double figure price bracket of the starters and ever dearer mains is conclusive.
An exorbitantly priced Riesling hurls us into the inevitable wallet lightening experience that this will be; however with the starters comes a sense of justification. A giant tortelli is laden with scallop, resting on a celeriac puree with a creamy veloute. A pumpkin and beetroot salad is abstract and visually rousing, and just as satisfying in taste.
It takes an excessively long time for mains to come. When they do finally make an appearance, it is pleasing to note their generous dimensions. A long fillet of sea bream has brittle, fried skin and is served with squidgy segments of pumpkin gnocchi, with those typical smears of sauce that are actually deep enough to be of use (hallelujah). A blushing beef main is received with appreciation for its well-judged colour and textured accompaniments, but a clumsy border of uncooked fat and cartilage degrades the taste. Worse still, bubbles of marrow are inconsistent in texture; whilst most are heat-softened well, others are still sandy and inedible.
If, on occasion, you have an urge to be fed but no one will have you, Kitchen W8 may be an alternative depending on your level of desperation. Its price is prohibitively high for it to reasonably be considered an informal restaurant. This is all very well, except the food does not always justify the cost. Service is mercurial and sometimes self-involved, whilst prices are £60 per person.
Tube: High Street Kensington