Core by Clare Smyth

British·
££££
·
Gold Award
·

SquareMeal Review of Core by Clare Smyth

Gold Award

Since leaving the three-Michelin-starred world of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Clare Smyth has “forged her own special path” with her own three Michelin star restaurant – much to the delight of readers who have fallen head over heels in love with her new venture.

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, while “gracious” staff do their very best to make the whole experience extra-special.

The room may be gorgeous in its own right, but everyone is here for food – and rightly so. Readers already have their favourites from Core’s carte and tasting menu: for some it’s the ‘potato and roe’ (actually a dish of skin-on charlotte potato topped with herring and trout roe sitting in a slick of seaweed beurre blanc), while our tip for signature status is the whole carrot topped with braised lamb served alongside a dollop of sheep’s milk yoghurt. These are “smile-inducing” dishes that extract almost unbelievable flavour from the humblest of ingredients.

Elsewhere, brilliant hits abound: a sweet Colchester crab doughnut alongside a glass of crab consommé; an even sweeter Roscoff onion stuffed with rich oxtail to accompany beef short-rib; countless nibbles including crispy smoked duck wings and jellied eel misted with a malt vinegar spray.

And then there are the ravishing desserts – exquisitely reimagined versions of cherry Bakewell or warm chocolate tart, for example. Quite simply, this is “the epitome of thoughtful, stylish and technically brilliant gastronomy”.

The “fabulous” French-led wine list is a real head-turner, with plenty of fine drinking below £50, and you can also eat in the handsome bar, which is a cocktail destination in its own right. We’re in no doubt that Core is headed for the very top, and its many fans agree: “One of the best evenings we've ever had in a restaurant. Superb, understated excellence from start to finish”.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
British
Ambience
Fine dining, Glamorous, Lively, Luxury, Quiet conversation, Romantic, Traditional, Widely spaced tables
Other Awards
Three Michelin stars
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Gluten-free options, Vegetarian options
People
Birthdays, Celeb spotting, Celebrations, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About

Core is the first solo restaurant from Northern Irish chef Clare Smyth. Since opening in 2017, following Smyth’s departure from Restaurant Gordon Ramsay where she had held three Michelin stars for nine years as head chef and then chef patron, Core has become renowned for its contemporary style of British cuisine. Winning two Michelin stars after being open for just one year, the London restaurant was awarded its third Michelin star in the 2021 guide. Combining the highest level of service, with ground-breaking culinary prowess and a relaxed fine-dining setting, Core by Clare Smyth aims to provide guests with a truly memorable dining experience.

Located in Notting Hill, Core is based inside a stunning period building with steps leading up to the restaurant’s front door. Inside, the elegant interiors of the 54-cover dining room strike a careful balance between being luxurious but not overly formal. Exposed wooden floors play host to circular tables which aren’t adorned with white tablecloths, and there is little by way of décor apart from the odd shelf stacked with plants and books.

British produce is at the centre of all of Smyth’s menus, with a particular emphasis on natural, sustainably sourced food. There is the choice of two tasting menus and an a la carte menu at Core, all of which change regularly depending on the season. Dishes on offer range from starters such as Isle of Mull scallop tartare with a sea vegetable consommé, to main courses including Rhug Estate venison red cabbage and Tasmanian mountain pepper. In terms of sweet dishes, you can expect playful desserts such as lemonade parfait, and a dish known as the ‘Core-teaser’.

The food is accompanied by an extensive French-led wine list, with the option to opt for a pairing with the tasting menus. Meanwhile, Core’s well-stocked bar can rustle up everything from classic cocktails to non-alcoholic delights.


FAQs

Does the restaurant have a Michelin star?

It has three Michelin stars.

Helpful? 0

What is the dress code?

While there isn't an official dress code, it is a three Michelin starred restaurant so most guests choose to dress in smart clothes.

Helpful? 0

Are there vegetarian options?

No, all a la carte dishes and both tasting menus feature meat and fish.

Helpful? 0
Meet the team
Core by Clare Smyth

Clare Smyth

Chef-owner, Core by Clare Smyth

Indisputably the UK’s foremost female chef, Clare Smyth MBE grew up in Northern Ireland and cut her teeth in a string of top restaurants including Gidleigh Park and The Waterside Inn. In 2002 she attracted the attention of Gordon Ramsay and just five years later she was announced as the head chef of his Chelsea flagship, becoming the first female chef in the UK to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars. After nearly 10 years running the kitchen there she struck out on her own (with Ramsay’s blessing) to open Core in Notting Hill, a top-end but fairly relaxed fine dining restaurant that – somewhat unsurprisingly – attracted two stars from the little red book less than a year after opening and subsequently earning the ultimate accolade: three Michelin stars.

 


Location

92 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2PN

020 3937 5086 020 3937 5086

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 12:00-14:15
Fri 12:00-14:15
Sat 12:00-14:15
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 18:30-21:45
Wed 18:30-21:45
Thu 18:30-21:45
Fri 18:30-21:45
Sat 18:30-21:45
Sun Closed

Reviews

Share your thoughts with other diners

Write a review


37 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Anon

26 June 2023  
Food & Drink 0.5
Service 0.5
Atmosphere 0.5
Value 0.5

Anonymous

18 June 2023   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Andrew O

27 December 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Phenomenal, high-end fine dining with impeccable food and exemplary service.

Paul B

27 December 2022  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4.5

Delicious food in a beautiful setting.

Paul A

26 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Must be the best restaurant in the land - every aspect of fine dining at the highest level.

Anon

24 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

The  in season ingredients used were sublime from vegetables too the meat .

Anon

24 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

One of the best experiences. My husband and I have been to several Michelin star restaurants in and outside London, and this has been one of my favourite overall experience. The menu has been perfectly thought out and balanced. Clare's style is so unique, elegant and delicate, absolutely unmistakable. The cocktails, recommended wine pairings, the service...everything was exceptional. 

Simone K

23 November 2022  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4.5

Dining at Chef's Table is the ultimate eating experience savouring unimaginable flavour explosions

Anonymous

21 August 2021   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Excellent one of the best restaurants in the UK

Exceptional food, unpretentious friendly atmosphere, extremely well run restaurant.

 

Alex G

26 September 2019  
Food & Drink 5
Service 4
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4.5
More than essential

For someone carrying the burden of expectation as being ranked one of the very best restaurants in the country, Clare Smyth cuts a remarkably relaxed figure. Indeed, as we descended the stairs to Core (her first restaurant since parting ways with Gordon Ramsey), Clare was positively beaming, as she greeted us with a friendly wave from the glass-fronted kitchen. The moment captures all that Core is about: this is a relaxed venue that is confident in the knowledge that it will deliver an exceptional experience. Rather than starched white tablecloths and snooty waiters, the vibe here is more ‘lux-casual.’ Being at Core reminded me a little of being in someone’s (albeit very nice) house. We liked the informality of the light pine bookshelves around the room, interspersed with artworks, including by Bridget Riley. Bigger than the now-absent Marianne yet smaller than the Ledbury, Core felt just right; intimate yet with a buzz. The kitchen, of course, is the place that really does the talking and what singularly impressed was the artful playfulness that went into the composition not just of each dish, but also to the broader conception of the tasting menu. Take my first dish, an Isle of Mull scallop tartare. I am mostly indifferent to scallop and find it depressing how regularly fine dining venues default to including it on their tasting menus. Here, however, Clare Smyth has taken such an item, transformed it, and its corresponding taste sensation, and presented said scallop beautifully, in a seashell with a vegetable consommé surrounding it. I was similarly impressed by my ‘lamb carrot.’ This is just what you might imagine it to be: a humble carrot topped with braised lamb and finished with a beautiful dollop of sheep’s yoghurt. The flavour and taste sensation were deep and lingering. Presentation throughout was superlative and my vegetarian comrade was similarly wowed with her offerings, particularly a spelt ring. Paired wines were chosen thoughtfully and with connoisseurs in mind. It was a delight, for example, to see an aged Tondonia accompany the monkish and a Le Crau from Vieux Telegraphe paired with a duck dish. Pricing is what you would expect in such a venue and in line with comparable locations. Despite the service (which was, at times, somewhat over-zealous; a small gripe, but worth mentioning), this is money very well spent. You need to book well in advance to secure a table but being organised definitely pays off. 

Book a table

Find a table

Other restaurants we like near Core by Clare Smyth

Check availability