Cliché as it may be, Cheneston’s is truly one of Kensington’s best kept secrets. This traditional dining room is tucked away inside The Milestone Hotel just opposite Kensington Gardens, where Ritz-trained executive chef Daniel Putz showcases his extraordinary talent via a menu of classical dishes.
The dining room is the epitome of old British elegance, with classic wood panelling, delicate Victorian leaded windows and tables laden with silverware. It seats just 24 diners, and we visited on a particularly quiet evening, but service is genuinely relaxed and warm and goes a long way to making us feel at home.
The staunchly British theme continues with the food, and the tasting menu reads like an old friend in its commitment to familiar flavours. Putz, however, injects purpose into every plate, so that the whole eight-course experience feels seamless, exciting and well balanced. We start with warm, sweet soda bread served with a perfect quenelle of soft cultured butter, followed by an impossibly light crab salad with crisp apple and crunchy sourdough croutons. These great dishes all led to an extraordinary one: a perfectly cooked piece of hake paired with a deep-fried smoked salmon beignet, broccoli puree and a superb white wine and caviar sauce. A pretty key lime pie, zesty and sweet in all the right places, would have been the perfect conclusion to a fantastic meal, but Putz is a clearly a feeder and rounds off his menu with a thick wedge of goat’s cheese, with walnut bread and fig jam.
The whole affair is yours for £110, which for the location, quality of dishes, and all-round state of London’s restaurants scene right now, doesn’t seem like a bad deal. We weren’t drinking on the night, but wines can be matched with your meal if you like, or there’s an extensive wine list for more discerning drinkers. If you're after boundary-pushing cuisine laced with theatre and innovation, there are plenty of places in London we'd recommend instead, but when it comes to superb classic cooking served with grace and finesse, you can’t do much better than Cheneston’s.