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|Address:||11-13 Abingdon Rd, London W8 6AH|
|Tel:||020 7937 0120|
|Price: £56.00||Wine: £20.00||Champagne: £52.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 6-10.30pm Sun 12.30-3pm 6.30-9.30pm|
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
W8 is refreshingly kitted out with a tad more interest than the formulaically bland décor of high end gastro-destinations. However, the hope was that the food would still do the talking. The attraction is the influence of high pedigree craftsman Phil Howard, but how would his recent protégé’ interpret cuisine on this appealing menu?
A simple looking plate of partridge ravioli with ceps served on melted onions was a well accomplished, delicious opener and I’d have happily eaten this as a main. My better half didn’t consume with quite such gusto, although his plate was void of remains. Rich, dark ox cheek perfectly soft was served with contrasting flat iron (my knowledge of meat cuts didn’t extend to this terminology, so somewhere around the shoulder was indicated). This was presented pink, properly rested and thinly sliced without a trace of blood, being essential as it rested beneath a superb quenelle of horseradish cream. Separately came the most comforting gravy like sauce to accompany the cheek which sat upon cabbage. Grouse, described as “slightly gamey” was somewhat more powerful, and this factor combined with the acidity of choucroute, meant that the dish required a carb’ other than the beetroot puree which was an inadequate counterbalance. (We obviously had the French perspective of slightly gamey as later another waiter used the adjective “very”, illustrating the dichotomy in staff opinions.) My partner didn’t grumble at all as I reneged on the deal of a swop half-way. Exchanging again after only a few mouthfuls, I was so pleased to be reunited with my gently yielding pieces of ox and…..that sauce.
Dry wit from our waitress who was polite and knowledgeable was more than one could ask for. The sommelier recommended a sensibly priced Lombardy wine which delivered exactly as described and worked well with our choices. I can almost forgive them for not completely removing strings from the runner beans as the thin chips were spot on texturally and properly seasoned, but a mark has to be deducted for the inaccurate grouse description.
Skipping dessert, my eyes jumped to “Share of the Crop” on the back of the menu which was a novel touch. 24 hours’ notice normally required for ordering, but we asked if any mushrooms could be spared and delightedly came away with 200g of chanterelles plus some pleasurable food memories. Native lobster and lamb rump were also amongst the five or so options to take away. A smart performance which registered a big score on my taste senses means that I have to go back to sample belly of veal with polenta or one of the fish choices. The menu was seasonal with wild mushrooms featuring in many dishes – exactly why I like this time of year.