Core by Clare Smyth 4444

92 Kensington Park Road , London, W11 2PN

  • Core by Clare Smyth London restaurant bar Notting Hill
  • Core by Clare Smyth London restaurant bar Notting Hill
  • Core by Clare Smyth chef London restaurant

SquareMeal Review of Core by Clare Smyth

SquareMeal award hall of fame 1999-2018 logo badgeSquaremeal London Hot 100 2018Clare Smyth MBE is no stranger to picking up awards – most famously maintaining three Michelin stars at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – and it looks like she’s going to have to get ready for another haul of trophies: this place is “heading all the way to the top” declares one fan, and we agree. Core is cor-blimey brilliant rather than a hardcore, haute-cuisine ordeal, complete with the sort of high-end interiors that covetous Notting Hillbillies dream about – think cute handbag stools, feather-light Zalto glassware and Bridget Riley artworks. Unclothed tables, meanwhile, indicate we’re in casual-luxe territory, with “exceptionally professional” staff showing their passion for the place. Still, no one has come here for the design, and the sight of Smyth directing kitchen operations through a plate-glass wall transmits a thrilling jolt of anticipation for the “exquisite” food to come: a sweet Colchester crab doughnut alongside a glass of crab consommé; even sweeter Roscoff onion stuffed with rich oxtail to accompany beef short-rib; and no end of nibbles including crispy smoked duck wings and jellied eel misted with a malt vinegar spray. Elsewhere, there’s a dish of skin-on Charlotte potato topped with herring and trout roe sitting in a slick of seaweed beurre blanc, while the lamb-braised carrot studded with salt-and-vinegar crisps seems destined for ‘signature’ status. The “fabulous” French-led wine list is also a head-turner, with plenty of fine drinking below £50. Although Core is currently booked solid, you can also eat in the handsome bar, which deserves to become a cocktail destination in its own right. 

Fever-Tree Championships

It’s one of the most anticipated tennis tournaments of the year, and at this year’s Fever-Tree Championships, you can watch some of the sport’s biggest names. Held at The Queen’s Club between 18 and 24 June, the event also offers some world-class hospitality.

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Core by Clare Smyth is recommended for

Cool | Formal | Glamorous | Quiet Conversation | Widely Spaced Tables | Romantic | Special Occasions Over 40S | Special Occasions Under 40S

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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Notting Hill Gate Tube Station 612m

Ladbroke Grove Station 617m


Address: 92 Kensington Park Road , London W11 2PN

Area: Notting Hill Holland Park

Opening times

Thurs-Sat 12N-2.30pm Tues-Sat 6.30-10.30pm

Nearby Landmarks

Electric Cinema 346m

Portobello Road 504m


Telephone: 020 3937 5086


Cuisine: British

Dinner: £80/95 (3/5 courses)


Food & Drink: 9.8

Service: 10.0

Atmosphere: 9.8

Value: 9.5

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

David H. platinum reviewer 30 May 2018

After more than a few visits to Royal Hospital Road over the years, and considering the heritage of several of the people behind Core, our expectations were understandably high when three of us made our first visit for lunch. But cutting to the chase, this was clearly the best meal we have eaten in 2018. It would also be a candidate for the best meal we've ever enjoyed alongside L'Enclume , the best of what we've had at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and the best meals we had from Pierre Koffmann when his Tante Claire was also at Royal Hospital Road. With 4 amuse- bouches, five courses and three elements to the petits four, we were given twelve different taste experiences today. It,s fair to say that every one of these was at least very good indeed , and some were almost astounding. Unusually, I can't think of a single thing about the meal, service or the environment in which we ate that detracted from the enjoyment we had. They didn't miss a beat. And neither does the food come across as merely replicating that on offer elsewhere- these dishes were rather unusual, adventurous and stamp this restaurant's own personality on the food we ate. Altogether a very satisfying encounter and we left with our expectations possibly exceeded. Of course food like this comes at a cost - we spent £130 a head and it could easily have been more if we hadn't been driving later! So for most of us its a special occasion restaurant, rather than a place to pop in for a casual lunch. But I have to say that the experience is entirely up to an occasion and there was not a moment while we were there that value for money was a doubt. Its worth saying also that this team have a knack of delivering a serious food experience without being stiff. They smile a lot- maybe that's what happens when they know they're getting it right! Go back? You can bet on it, and indeed a booking is already in place. We can't wait.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Lloyd S. gold reviewer 18 December 2017

It was the end of September when we first payed our first visit to Core and the experience was so good we couldn’t wait to return. So please bear with me that I'm writing another review so soon but believe me if and when you finally dine hear you'll understand why On our first visit we was thrilled to have been sat at the chefs table which amazing as you could see the chefs in action but on this occasion we had a delightful table by the window with a great view of the restaurant. Due to the fact it had only been a couple of months since our last visit a few of the courses on the Tasting Menu were the same but this turned out not to be a problem as dishes from the Al a Carte & Lunch Menu were transferred over to create a new menu and also to our delight we had a couple of dishes that were not going to be on the menu until the new year. We started out with a couple fabulous cocktails in the bar which is a lovely setting away from the restaurant itself and is a great way to relax before being escorted to the dining room to start our amazing dining experience Our newly designed menu started with a delightful selection of snacks before our first course an amazing Crab & Truffle this was followed by the Charlotte Potato then a brand new dish of Turbot , cockles , clams & a Parsley sauce we then had Chicken , clams & caviars day also the Oxtail stuffed Roscoff Onion with Beef Short Rib then a fantastic Scottish Venison. This led us to the Cheese course which was a Colton Bassett Stilton together with crackers and the most amazing Fig Rolls. Now it was time for dessert and both were stunning a Chocolate & Hazelnut Cremeaux and a Lemonade Parfait then we had some beautiful Petit Fours to finish . A word now for the sommelier who matched each course with a fabulous selection of wines and was himself excellent as in fact was every member of staff so polite,friendly & professional This really is a restaurant that is going to go all the way to the top especially with Clare Smyth who is such a lovely person and found time to chat to us at the end at the helm and a fantastic experienced team behind her and I’m looking forward to our next visit already

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Lloyd S. gold reviewer 01 October 2017

When I heard the news that Clare was going to open her own restaurant my excitement on waiting for this to happen was very high having tasted her food at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey and also that she had Rob Rose as her Restaurant Director you just new this was going to be a fantastic dining experience so when the day came that you could book I couldn't wait and yesterday we went and believe me it was just the amazing experience that I thought it would be. Set in a lovely location on Kensington Park Road a nice short walk from Notting Hill Station. As you enter the warm and friendly greeting that you receive is delightful and makes you feel very relaxed straight away. We decided to enjoy two excellent cocktails before lunch in the bar wher the staff were very engaging we had the Milk Punch and a specially made cocktail consisting of White & Dark Rum and Mandarin . Then came a wonderful surprise as we were being shown to a table that we thought would be I the restaurant itself instead we were seated at the Chefs Table from where you see into the open kitchen and see everything happening before you very eyes and yes it was amazing to see. So now we are greeted by Restaurant Manager Davide and the friendliness & professionalism continued and given a nice complimentary glass of Sparkling Wine while we looked at the menu. We decided to.have the Tasting Menu this which started with a fantastic selection of snacks that included Gougeres , Duck Wings and Jellied Eel. This led to our first course and what a way to start with a stunning Isle of Mull Scallop full of amazing flavours of the sea this was followed by the Charlotte Potato with herring & trout roe to be followed by a delightful Skate with shrimps & brown butter. With the experience already living up to the expectations we then moved on to the fantastic Lamb Braised Carrot with sheeps milk yoghurt plus delightful dumplings before the highlight of the menu a stunning Roast Grouse with red cabbage & bell heather just heavenly all these courses were matched superbly by a fantastic selection of wines chosen by the excellent Sommelier Now onto the desserts with a nice & light Cherry Bakewell dish before a sublime Pear and Verbena with poire williams sorbet then while enjoying ''this dessert out came an extra and it was amazing a glorious Pain Perdu with figs , honey & verjus matched again with a superb Sweet Wine this rounded of a truly outstanding dining experience I have to say that every expectation was met with the food & service being 1st class . I really can't see it being long before the awards start rolling in with Clare at the helm and her excellent Head Chef Jonny Bone who it was a delight to have met and a great team behind her you can only see this restaurant rise to the top. So yes I would highly recommend a visit and I for one will definitely be returning soon.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Jean T. bronze reviewer 20 August 2017

From the moment we entered the restaurant we knew we were going to have a fabulous experience; the smiling front of house receptionist took us through the lovely bar and past the chef's table in front of the open kitchen which was a hive of activity with Clare orchestrating her brigade of young chefs. We were shown through to the bright and airy dining room where four delectable amuse bouche were served and so started the theatre with exquisite flavours. We decided to go for the a la carte menu on our first occasion here and started off with a divine smoky scallop presented beautifully in a shell, my husband had the crab doughnut which comprised of a trio of elements - a beautiful glass of crab consommé with lime foam, delicately steamed crab accompanied by the deliciously light crab doughnut. For mains we had the wonderful grouse which was presented with a smoking bell glass containing a farci wrapped in red cabbage and the short rib was served with a Roscoff onion stuffed with oxtail. The pre-dessert was a Cherry bakewell with the sharp cherries cleansing the palate before the exquisite deserts of a stunning Peach Pain Perdu and stunning chocolate and hazelnut cremeux. The meal was finished off with delightful petit fours. Overall the flavours and the execution of the food was exquisite; service throughout was exceptionally professional yet friendly with very knowledgeable and passionate staff. Clare's new venture will definitely get Michelin stars very quickly - the question is how many! We very much look forward to our next visit