Kitchen W8

British, Modern European·
££££
·
Silver Award
·

SquareMeal Review of Kitchen W8

Silver Award

Integral to Kitchen W8’s enduring charm is its ability not to overcomplicate things. We imagine that retaining a Michelin star for as long as it has elicits a certain degree of pressure to reinvent oneself from time to time, but co-owners Phil Howard and Rebecca Mascarenhas have stuck to their guns, and for that we’re extremely grateful.  

Their dream was for Kitchen W8 to be a ‘home away from home’ when they launched it in 2009, which it still is now. White tablecloths are the only real reminder that we’re in a high class, central-Kensington establishment, while muted tones and glowy lighting create a relaxed, living room-esque dining space. Integral to this unwavering neighbourhood feel is its clientele of regulars, which we deduced by a number of solo diners who were clearly popping in for a glass of wine and a main from head chef Mark Kempson’s sophisticated menu.  

Kempson’s ability to astound with simplicity is surely one of the best things about Kitchen W8. Our three-course dinner began with three delicate disks of lobster ravioli, enveloped in beautifully thin handmade pasta and topped with lightly pickled cubes of apple. This dainty creation was then destroyed with aplomb as our waitress poured over an utterly addictive pool of shellfish bisque, submerging the lot. Next, a flaky piece of cod partnered with dinky pieces of farfalle pasta and neat little cubes of salty sausage, were doused in a heady tarragon butter sauce soaking every bite in glossy richness. To finish, a still-warm apricot bakewell tart accompanied by softly-sweet honey and camomile ice cream and a puddle of apricot coulee was the understated, plate-licking finale the meal needed.  

It’s possible to dine on three courses for less than £35 a head if you opt for the set menu, although you’re looking closer to £50 if you’re dining a la carte. But for the quality of food, flawless service and its upmarket postcode, Kitchen W8 is one of the best-value Michelin-starred restaurants in London.  

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
British, Modern European
Ambience
Fine dining, Glamorous, Luxury, Quiet conversation, Romantic, Traditional, Widely spaced tables
Other Awards
One Michelin star
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options, Wheelchair access
People
Birthdays, Celebrations, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

FAQs

Does it have a Michelin star?

Yes, it has one Michelin star

Helpful? 0

Who is the head chef?

The head chef is Mark Kempson who has been at the helm of the kitchen since it opened in 2009

Helpful? 0

Location

11-13 Abingdon Road, Kensington, London, W8 6AH

020 7937 0120

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat 12:00-14:30
Sun 12:30-15:00
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 18:00-21:00
Wed 18:00-21:00
Thu 18:00-21:00
Fri 18:00-21:00
Sat 18:00-21:00
Sun 18:30-20:30

Reviews

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26 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

KKala

20 August 2019  
Food & Drink 2
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 2.5
don't bother if your vegan or have any food intolerance

We had a for 6 people and explained at the time of booking that we had a vegan and celiac guest,  Kitchen W8 assured us that this would be totally fine - there would be plenty of options for both plus a side menu that the vegan/veggie guest could choose from... 

When we asked for the vegan/veggie menu on the day we were told that there wasn't one and  there was only one thing on the menu that was suitable out of all the starters and mains... but the chef would make somthing up for the guest no problem... Great! or so you'd think... what that meant it that they ended up having the same dish for both staters and mains! (and left feeling hungry)

Our celiac guest ended up having a really bad reaction withing 20 mins us leaving the restaurant. 

The other four guest really enjoyed their meal..... 

Julian K

21 March 2018  
Warm atmosphere.

Neil P

01 August 2017  
Food & Drink 5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 5
Value 4.5
Lovely meal
Lovely meal, great food and wine service etc. Everything you could ask for. Shall return soon for the taster!

Anon

04 May 2017  
Great value high quality food with superb service and welcoming atmosphere. Menu changes seasonally and always of the highest standard.

David H

11 December 2016  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 2
Atmosphere 3
Value 3
Not as good as it was
We've eaten here quite a lot over the years, both before and after a refurb. that marked a distinct improvement in food, environment and traffic. It became a restaurant to rely on for a quality lunch with true Michelin star qualities at a very fair price, and I've reviewed it on two or three websites. We noticed at our last visit that the food and service wasn't up to previous standards, and the same was more true today. Which gets me wondering- seems there's very few restaurants that can be relied upon to maintain high standards visit after visit , year after year. There seems to be an art in picking out a restaurant "on the up" so to speak and in recognising that it's on the way down. Today we chose from an interesting looking seasonal menu. We each started with a ravioli of suckling pig resting on a bed of apple. It was decently cooked but not terribly flavoursome or exciting. It did frankly need a broth or a little sauce to pep it up. The "crackling" was more like a prawn cracker. We'd both say exactly the same about our main of slow -cooked short rib. Soft, certainly; but well flavoured, no. Short rib needs either to be finished on a barbecue with a sauce, or cooked in a rich sauce. Without these it's dull and I'm afraid this dish was dull- even the turnip tops were low on flavour. They're getting textures right and flavours wrong. We were disappointed with the service. Within 35 minutes of arrival, we'd chosen and eaten both starter and main with scarcely a gap between. It was just too quick. The courses came so rapidly that there wasn't a lot of time for cooking to order here. Then as the place got busier, it took 75 minutes to have desserts ( again brought pretty much instantly we ordered them) and coffee. It was proving more than difficult to get the attention of our waitress and we had to involve the maître d'. Then when the coffee came my double expresso wasn't expresso at all. We'd been told coffee was on the house, so I didn't complain, just paid and left. Of course the central issue here is whether the staff and kitchen are working to get food out and orders taken at a pace that is reasonable for the customer , or whether they expect the customer to order and eat at a speed the staff find convenient? In the course of this meal they sadly contrived to be both too fast and too slow, both attentive and uncaring. None of this is a good sign in our experience; our last two meals here have been below the standard we'd got used to at Kitchen W8 and which led us to feel their star was much deserved. They seem not to have maintained that performance. We'll give it another shot in a few months to reflect the excellent meals we've had here in the past, and hope this is a blip. Our fear is that things might have changed in the way they prepare and cook food, and in the people they have cooking and front of house, that makes improvement difficult to deliver.

Tanya D

09 September 2016  
Food & Drink 2
Service 2
Atmosphere 2
Value 2
TOTALLY UNIMPRESSED!
5 of us went and I don't think we could have been less impressed with the service and food. We took one look at the tasting menu and decided on a la carte and so glad we did: 3 poor courses rather than 6. None of us enjoyed our food, it wasn't disgusting but just nothing to write home about, The service was dreadful, I don't think the waitress could have been more disinterested in us. I really don't understand why people have rated this restaurant, there is better food at the same price in other places.

Erika L

02 November 2015  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 3
Great food, set menu
The food was delicious, although small portions with a set menu. It was a better value than a la carte, but left wanting more food. Great place to go for a celebration.

David H

06 September 2015  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 4.5
They just keep getting oit right here
I've eaten here more than a dozen times , always nicely. The reason I'm reviewing it again is that in an environment where "set lunches" are increasingly made down to a price and dull, and bear little relationship to the complexity and quality of food on the main menu, Kitchen W8 are still turning out three courses of great quality, and considerable interest, for all of £23. The meal we had yesterday was either right from their main menu, or a close adaptation. It was without a doubt Michelin star quality and always has been in our opinion. The risotto with mousserons and Fowey mussels was outstanding, and the pearl barley with my main course not far behind. Its good food, served promptly and pleasantly in a smart, tidy environment. The bread is great and free. The wine we had yesterday from the "value" end of the list was light and very pleasant, The coffee's good, and people were friendly. Unsurprisingly, it was also busy , so booking's a smart idea. In other words its a delight, and the only thing I fret over is why the same team have turned Sonny's in Barnes from a restaurant we used to enjoy frequently, to a place we sadly no longer use, when they are capable of so much. Will we go back? You bet.

Linda S

28 July 2015  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
loved it!
Have now been to Kitchen W8 three times in two months, once for lunch and twice for dinner. The special set lunch menu is wonderful value, but not, I think, available for dinner. The food is absolutely delicious, beautifully cooked, presented and really fresh, seasonal and interesting. Wine/champagne can be bought by the glass, which is an added bonus as we did not want a whole bottle. Service is helpful and not intrusive, and the staff seem to enjoy being there. (The English is not always easy to understand, but they clearly enjoy informing guests what is on offer.) The location is a bit 'out of the way' and you have to know it is there to find it, but I really hope the local residents take it to their heart - it is a real jewel!

Brigitte C

29 March 2015  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 3.5
DELIGHTFUL EXPERIENCE
What a nice evening! The four of us were delighted by the quality of the products , the presentation and the taste of the food. Service was very friendly and efficient. The chef took our allergies in consideration, the result was outstanding. For sure, we will come back. BC
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