Labelling a restaurant’s style of food can often be more difficult than one might think. With terms like ‘Italian-led menu with strong South East Asian influences’ flying around, you may wonder what’s next. And then comes Flat Three, claiming to be a Korean-Japanese-Scandinavian fusion restaurant which uses all-British produce, or ought we to say a British restaurant with strong Korean, Japanese and Scandinavian influences? Who knows, but with food as constantly surprising and exciting as Flat Three, who cares?
Don’t be put off by the unlikely location underneath a hairdresser’s in Holland Park. The basement space is decorated with pale fawn tones and elegantly crafted Scandi furniture which lend a suitably Zen air to proceedings. An open kitchen sits at one end of the restaurant and shelves stacked with fermentation jars provide an immediate clue to an important part of many of Flat Three’s dishes.
Although there is an à la carte menu offered, the five-course tasting menu is what Flat Three prides itself on, and we can see why. Mochi flatbread, made entirely from rice and served with a sharp soy vinegar, provided a highly original start to the meal and became even more irresistible once dunked in a kabu broth dusted with kombu. Meanwhile, home-made tofu was almost posset-like in its appearance, with mushroom garum providing a gamey edge and puffed rice adding crunch to every mouthful.
Larger dishes included a generous slice of Japanese squash called kabocha, which had been slowly roasted to perfection, adorned with caviar, and served with cashew curd, sharp pickled pumpkin and an oil made from the seeds and skin of the kabocha.
Our favourite plate, however, was a slice of perfectly medium-rare venison served with a plate-lickingly good pork XO and crisped-up, charred greens which reminded us of Chinese crispy fried seaweed. Washed down with a bottle of light pinot noir, there was little to complain about.
Palate-challenging puddings, including an almond cake with a bitter fermented milk ice cream and honey foam, were the ideal finale to an education in daring combinations. Flat Three isn’t a the place to go for a safe meal, but if you’re looking to test your tastebuds in the most delicious way possible, you’ll struggle to find anywhere more original in the area.