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Things are going swimmingly for Casa Cruz. Jet-setting designer, financier and restaurateur Juan Santa Cruz has won over the fashionable west London crowd, who now feel at ease within this glamorous Holland Park edifice – a pantheon of burnished copper with a handsome oval cocktail bar and a menu that appeals to voguish ‘clean eating’ sensibilities – think raw dishes, hero vegetables and grills of fish, chicken and grass-fed beef. Quality is everything, as in fresh tomatoes with basil and olive oil, charred beets with horseradish or raw tuna soothed by creamy avocado and a kick of wasabi. A plate of sea bream carpaccio with chilli and lime won’t bother your calorie count, nor will weeny portions of roast cod or grilled monkfish, while bigger appetites might prefer steaks or blackened chicken, perhaps followed by lemon polenta cake with crème fraîche. The wide-ranging wine list covers the best of the Old World, supplemented by Argentinian bottles from Mendoza and Patagonia.
I had heard of Casa Cruz at some point and added it to my constantly evolving list of restaurants that I want to try. During a business meeting recently, someone said that they lived across from it and loved it so I started considering it as an option for dinner with our friends Richard and Christina. The issue was the dinner would be following an afternoon match at Wembley so Notting Hill wasn’t ideal. But when I was brainstorming with Richard, he suggested Casa Cruz, and since I had mentioned it to Stewart that very morning, I felt it was a sign and booked it.
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