Monday, 14 December 2009

Kitchen W8

11-13 Abingdon Road
London W8 6AH
020 7937 0120

Kitchen has been open now for 6 weeks. It comes with some pedigree. The co-owner Philip Howard co-owns The Square (two Michelin stars) and The Ledbury. Rebecca Mascarenhas the other owner started Sonny’s in Barnes and co-owns Sam’s Brasserie in Chiswick and Harrison’s in Balham. It’s not part of a chain but there is an awful lot of ownership going on around here; perhaps that should be a warning signal.

The name Kitchen conjures up something humble, bisto-ish, informal; but it is anything but. It’s starch white table cloths and modern décor. Somehow the décor doesn’t quite do it for me. There is something of the Candy and Candy bland international five star hotel about it. The strange green banquette doesn’t quite go with the black and white and round mirrors. There is a lack of attention to detail: there is a nasty LG air conditioning unit stuck on the wall above our table and the lighting, despite many ceiling spots, is too glaring. The tables are also a bit too close together. We are sitting facing each other and the tables in either corner are for two sitting adjacent on the banquette which means, had they been occupied, they would all have been looking towards us which in such a confined space would have been uncomfortable. The lack of space is hot helped by very low ceilings.

I go for the ox tongue. The ox tongue is a tiny piece of meat and comes with a bit of heated foie gras and squashy baked potato (ok it’s a personal thing but I like them crisper, firmer on the outside) and I’m reminded I don’t like heated foie gras (ok silly me it says it comes with ‘foie gras baked potato’). The squashy foie gras is sitting on top of the squashy baked potato on top of the tiny piece of tongue. Next to it is a daub of rather bland ‘shallot puree’. Ok you are getting the picture: I don’t think this is that great. Its ok, but for £16.50 in a restaurant owned by all these co-owners of well known places I expect something better. It's also a bit pretentious. I mean nobody would build this particular little multi storey unless they were trying to impress someone. Reports of my partner’s duck breast with a ‘tarte fine of caramelised endive’ are similar: ok, a bit bland a bit pretentious and £18.00. Desserts are a chocolate pudding which is not as good as Gu from the supermarket and a passion fruit mess which is also ok: nothing edgy or interesting here and high central London prices.

The best thing about the meal is a bottle of Finca las Paredes 2008 Malbec from Argentina for only £17.95. The wine list is simple and has good choice at the lower end and only marks up the more expensive wines by a standard amount.

One of the waiters ask me if I ‘enjoyed my meal’. I tell him I thought it was ‘ok, nothing edgy a bit bland’ and that The Abingdon down the road has much better food. I get a lot of stuff about 2 Michelin stars in other places and ‘nobody else has complained’ but he is polite. The manager then comes over. I tell him I would not have complained but one of his waiters asked me so I told him what I thought. He is also very polite. It doesn’t stop me form expecting more for £79 for two courses and a bottle of modestly priced wine. Kitchen is nevertheless full (it is a Saturday night in the run up to Christmas). This may say something about the choice in Kensington, the fact that it is new and people are trying it or the season. Time will tell.

Kitchen W8 on Urbanspoon


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  2. I didn't know that ox tongue was a plate. The only thing that I tasted was cow tongue and it was delicious specially the texture of it. I think that they use it in some countries like an aphrodisiac but I think that it is better to take Generic Viagra

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