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120-122 Holland Park Avenue
At last this fascinating, offbeat eatery is getting the praise it deserves, although it’s a slow burn. The quiet basement site is almost invisible and Flat Three’s complex culinary blend of Japanese, Korean and Scandinavian influences isn’t an easy sell, but it’s worth it for what one fan calls a “cool overindulgence of the senses”. American/Korean owner Juliana Kim Moustakis and chef Pavel Kanja (ex-Roka) have created a repertoire of great originality, and their “seemingly sparse” tasting menu is full of delicate delights: wild salmon draped in lardo with Douglas fir; alliums with smoked tofu and nasturtium; poached sea bass with fermented cauliflower; Wagyu short-rib with mallow and oyster sauce; a Finnish Runeberg cake with cherries and ice cream. There are raw and plant-based dishes for veggies, while the drinks list embraces small vineyards, unusual grapes and wacky juices. The elegant dining room is as cool as the cooking with its vintage Møller chairs, black walnut tables and antique Japanese silk screens decorated with gold and silver leaf. A triumph.
Saké is the versatile Japanese rice wine that is starting to break out from its niche-interest status. It can be dry and sharp, floral and smooth, nutty, sweet or even sparkling – making it delicious with anything from briny oysters to pasta and cheese. No wonder more than 500 London restaurants now offer saké on their drinks lists. Click here to find out more.
Best Japanese restaurants in London
Best in Notting Hill
120-122 Holland Park Avenue
Holland Park Tube Station 54m
Shepherd's Bush Tube Station (Central Line) 771m
Holland Park 453m
Holland Park Theatre 636m
Fri-Sat 12N-2.30pm Tues-Sat 6-9.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
Last night was my second time within just over a week that I ventured through the understated entrance next to my hairdressers and downstairs to the coolest space in the neighbourhood. Being nearly a Scandi but most definitively from the Nordic region, my immediate reaction was that it felt like being back home: minimalistic design, earthy colours, wood and soft light. Having changed the venue of my birthday dinner with dear friends at the last minute a week ago as another neighbourhood new-comer, with a lot more publicity, having had Beckhams and other locals with a keen follow-on visit, could not accommodate a larger than planned group, I was very intrigued to sit at the Chef's table and study the what at first sight appeared a seemingly sparse menu. Needn't worry: the Chef's 7 that comes both in meat and vegetarian variety was all I could have ever hoped for with a variety of fish (delicious smoked salmon with a lardo coat, melt-in-mouth poached seabass in a delicate broth that took my breath away), seafood (mouthwatering perfectly cooked scallops) and meat (amazing saltiness of a rib-eye and the most tender waguy sirloin) each touching every single sense in the most amazing way. I am not a big fan of desserts but the palate-cleansing tofu sorbet followed by a delicious oven-fresh cake named after the epic poet of my home country, my birthday missed nothing. So I took my Oz partner back this weekend and he was in heaven too, not least because of the refreshing tayberry (a cross between raspberry and blackberry, I learned) rum aperitif, brewed for 3months before making it into the cool minimalist glassware and clenching the thirst on a hot summer's night (alongside the free water that kept coming at frequent speed throughout the night): a big fan of Japan and Japanese food, and perhaps a little bit of Finns' too, the Oz man now plans to use this venue for business dinners and friendly get-togethers alike. I would just hope that Posh and Becks and friends would wander over as it would be a real shame if this place did not get the crowds and the PR it deserves. Cool overindulgence of senses. We will be back.
An amuse bouche for the evening was this lobster bisque, salmon tartare and miso crab fritter.
I would highly recommend to choosing the Chef's Menu which, on this occasion, lucky vegetarians, there was a vegetarian version of the menu as well as the usual one. The Chef's Menu proved to be better value and it gave a comprehensive overall selection of the style of food and the varied things that the chef does.
Alternatively, one can pick from the a la carte menu (sharing style) classified into the methods of cooking: slightly raw, wood oven, over the coals and seasonal autumn vegetables. On the special section - lobster with tomato butter. The menu changes with the season and had a good choice of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes. However, with new ingredients, flavour and it's combination, I really had to leave the selection to people who knew better. This was another good reason to pick the set menu.
hinona kabu, pink radish, shiso + pickled turnip dressing – hinona kabu is a traditional Japanese vegetable usually used for pickling. It is long and thin like with a red top. The colours were so pretty and the pickling flavours were mild with a very good balance of sweet and sour. Delicious and it cleanses the palate after that fatty salmon before our next meat platter.
Balmoral venison, fermented elderberry + whipped buttermilk – the Balmoral venison on the plate stood out in its red glory. Each ingredient was plated up separately and then scattered with micro flowers delivered the impression of the venison's wilderness. The meat was so lean and clean. It had strong beefy flavour and together, this dish was were nutty, tangy, fruity and very pretty.
hand cut udon, kimchee tomato ragu + black truffle – a plate of really lush noodles and meat. The ragu was rich and a bit too salty for me but the udon had a great texture and consistency. A sprinkle of black truffle, what do you say? Lush....
And the star of the dish for me was followed by this wonderful piece of meat: 28 day aged sirloin, jus with soured cream + honey comb – Like the salmon, it was served on it's own with the subtle honeycomb sweetness. The meat was tender and rich, with a pinkish middle, it was a very accomplished dish.
sea buckthorn sorbet + dandelion coffee – a delightfully tangy sorbet which contrasted perfectly with the sweet (but not overly so) coffee. I found it very refreshing.
runeberg cake, wild damsons + geranium ice-cream – the purity of the ice-cream, the sexy red from the wild damsons gave a nice contrast in colour. Not only that, the geranium ice-cream was ace, not too floral! The runeberg cake was slightly dry though.
cocktail of rowan berry champagne was delicious at £12.00
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