Kitchen W8, that Kensington neighbourhood restaurant which has held a Michelin star since 2011, is fresh from a smartly appointed refurb. The elegant dining room has had a lick of paint and some fresh linen and the result is splendid.
We are however the youngest people in there by a country mile. It’s all white hair and people who don’t realise it’s their mobile ringing. One guy even comes in with a steering wheel from his classic car which is quite the talking point. It makes for great people watching.
I start with grilled mackerel, from Cornwall, which comes with smoked eel, sweet mustard and leek (£13.50). The blend of rich, oiliness (mackerel) and sweet, acrid smokiness (eel) is a joyous thing.
As it’s the season I go for Scottish Highland grouse (£32) which is perfectly cooked. This is one of those times when a water bath actually makes the food taste better. It’s so tender. The bird has been finished off in the pan for added flavour. A generous helping of grains comes with liver of the grouse and bacon mixed through. Strong, gamey loveliness.
For pud, warm chocolate croustade (£8) is basically a warm chocolate mousse, light as anything, in a filo pastry basket. Salted caramel brings sweetness while lime zest freshens everything up. It’s marvellously indulgent.
Kitchen W8 is co-owned by Phil Howard who’s behind the fabulous Elystan Street, which also holds a star. Both restaurants serve unpretentious, unfussy food which is all about simplicity and flavour. That’s all I’m after these days.
Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant