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107 Westbourne Grove
Located on the fringes of Notting Hill, Bucket has a simple proposition: sustainably sourced seafood served largely out of (you’ve guessed it) a bucket. With white-washed walls and tastefully designed banquettes (containing lots of cushions and a dash of greenery), the team has tried to recreate the feel of a beach club. We loved the approach – and locals seem to agree, given how full the place was on a weekday night. We also rated the genuinely friendly staff, but found the food more hit-and-miss.
A simple yet effective cockles and chorizo appetiser brought to the table while we contemplated the menu set our hopes high. Navigating through the choice of food proved more difficult, with diners forced to mix-and-match a combination of plates, obligatory buckets and boards. Presentation throughout was superlative and portion sizes generous, though a grilled squid and lemon purée dish was let down by its unpleasantly chewy texture, while the four sauces that came with our whitebait bucket lacked depth of flavour. More plaudits, however, for the whole sea bass: a supremely tender fish with a lovely charred smoky sensation. But arguably the culinary highlight was our dessert, a pineapple carpaccio with pink peppercorns that scored highly both for composition and taste. While Bucket isn’t without leaks, they should be fixable – and pricing both for food and drink is reasonable.
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107 Westbourne Grove
Royal Oak Tube Station 376m
Bayswater Tube Station 550m
Westbourne Gardens 322m
U.C.I. Whiteleys 8 Cinema 369m
Mon-Sun 12N-11.30pm (Sun -10.30pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
I have been here on three occasions and each visit has been amazing. The staff are always fantastic and will do anything to be as accommodating as possible especially as I can be a bit fussy (sometimes). Buckets are great for sharing but on the last occasion I had a bucket of mussels to myself and they were simply delicious with just a portion of fries. Also love the seaweed crisps and the bucket bake is always heavenly. They also brought us over a complimentary mini cocktail which was really nice even if this particular cocktail wasn't to my taste. Cant wait to go back again.
Food + drink: 3
Shut your eyes hard enough and you could almost believe you’re at the seaside when you dine at Bucket. This, at least, is the idea. Such intention is expressed through the décor, from the white-washed walls and airy sensation of the dining room right through to the nautically themed toilets. Then open your eyes a little wider and there is a Sainsbury’s supermarket opposite, combined with the reality that you are dining in Bayswater (only an estate agent might generously describe this area as Notting Hill). The concept behind Bucket is a laudable one – sustainably sourced fish – even if its realisation is somewhat laboured. Regardless of location, I don’t really want to eat my food out of a metal bucket. Moreover, restaurants with menus that seemingly try and cover as many bases as possible just don’t do it for me. The challenge of how to combine ‘bites’, ‘plates’, ‘buckets’, ‘boards’ and ‘sides’ is not at all clear. Tyranny of choice is never part of my preferred restaurant night out. At least we were greeted with a smile and service throughout was exemplary, even if I sensed a slight tendency for up-selling. My comrade and I sampled at least one item from each segment of the menu and while there were some undoubted highlights, there were also a few disappointments. Begin with the latter and our much-vaunted bucket (we went for whitebait, from a choice of five) did come packed with fish, although I would have preferred more of an emphasis on quality than quantity. There was no faulting the freshness, but the flavour was simply dull and certainly not enhanced by any of the accompanying sauces. Elsewhere, a plate of grilled squid only got me excited insofar as the lemon purée added a lovely flavour dimension. But it was not enough to offset the unpleasantly rubbery nature of the fish. Bucket did score better elsewhere: with the simplicity of a cockle and chorizo appetiser, the texture of a whole grilled sea bass, the combination of a seaweed and cucumber salad and a coup-de-grace dessert. It was somewhat surprising that in a restaurant specialising in fish that the pudding should be so notable, but this is not to criticise the dish itself. A pineapple carpaccio with pink peppercorn, lemon thyme and coconut sorbet was presented beautifully, tasted light (and not too sweet) and was perfect for a summer evening. Overall, work in progress, but there is huge potential here. Pricing is reasonable, the concept is a mostly good one, the wine list shows thought, but the culinary delivery needs some tightening. Locals seem to love the place though (based on how full it was on a Monday night) and a return visit would be in order at some stage.
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