La Terrazza Kensington

Afternoon tea, Italian·
££££
·
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SquareMeal Review of La Terrazza Kensington

Although the restaurant runs an all-day menu, we tried the afternoon tea, which the following review relates to:

An afternoon tea brings to mind something quintessentially British, like balmy Spring days nibbling on cucumber sandwiches, spreading clotted cream onto jam laden scones (or vise versa depending on where you hail from in the country), and rounding off with a miniature victoria sponge for good measure. So the idea of a Mediterranean inspired affair feels a little unsettling, but La Terrazza at Hotel Xenia have broken the mould and done so with effortless Italian style.

Settled into our seat in the conservatory section of the restaurant, with the sun beaming down and a pianist serenading guests in the background, the afternoon tea kicks off to a fairly traditional start. Before long, a cake stand boasting all the classic components arrives, with dainty sandwiches, picture perfect puddings, and pots of tea arrivin. Upon a closer look, you can see the Italian flavours creeping through. Think Gorgonzola sandwiches, bejewelled with walnuts along the edge, and a delicious beef and mustard option with wafer thin slices of pink beef. But the stand out sandwich was the focaccia with roasted vegetables and olive tapenade. The salty, umami flavour from the olives was well balanced by the slightly acidic tomatoes and charred vegetables.

Dessert sees a variety of tarts and cakes arrive at the table, like white chocolate mousse with a pistachio base and raspberry coulis. But it was the tiramisu that was crowned a winner by us, with a perfect combination of intense coffee and creamy mascarpone. The only downside? We wish we could’ve had full size portions of it.

To round off our dolce vita afternoon, the scones arrive alongside a pot of Nutella. Traditionalists don’t panic - jam and cream was also provided, but we were far too distracted by the chocolate addition to notice. We know it’s a rogue topping for a scone, but we’re here for anything that encourages even more chocolate throughout our day.

All of this paired with the first-class service, and we couldn’t be happier that La Terrazza diversified from tradition to offer us something a little different, but equally as tasty.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Afternoon tea, Italian
Ambience
Cosy, Luxury, Quiet conversation, Romantic, Widely spaced tables
Food Occasions
All day dining, Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating, Terrace
Special Features
Gluten-free options, Vegan options, Vegetarian options, Wheelchair access
People
Birthdays, Celebrations, Child friendly, Dates, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions

About

La Terrazza, located in Kensington’s glamorous Hotel Xenia, is an equally glamorous all-day Italian restaurant. Here, head chef Raffaele Lauriola serves up creative, modern Italian fare, taking inspiration from his childhood in northern Puglia. All ingredients are carefully sourced, then showcased in simply prepared dishes. Taking a prime spot on the corner of Lexham Gardens and Cromwell Road, the restaurant is a light and bright space. Hang plans surround the stylish bar, while numerous floor-to-ceiling windows flood the dining room with natural light throughout the day. There are cosy armchairs at each table, ideal for relaxed dining.

The menu follows the traditional Italian structure of antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci, with a few contorni on the side. There is plenty of choice throughout, catering to most diets. Diners can snack on a selection of olives, before enjoying the likes of panzanella with grilled octopus, salmon tartare with avocado and calypso sauce or burrata with wild rocket and candied tomatoes. The primi offering is, as one would expect, primarily pasta dishes such as lobster and artichoke ravioli, pappardelle with duck ragu and spaghetti carbonara. There are some non-pasta options too, including aubergine parmigiana or risotto with red radicchio and hazelnuts.

The secondi are the main event, featuring showstoppers like braised lamb shoulder with Sicilian couscous, grilled seabass with sauteed spinach or chicken Milanese with roasted potatoes. Finally, there is an excellent selection of delicious desserts like a classic tiramisu, white chocolate mousse or sfogliata with mixed wild berries. For a quicker bite, there are also sandwiches and ciabattas available, with fillings like scamorza, speck and caramelised onion or ham, pesto and mozzarella. Ideal for catching up over drinks are the charcuterie boards, featuring prosciutto, coppa, salame, speck, spianata piccante and bresaola, as well as cheeses like parmiggiano, pecorino, gorgonzola, auricchio and taleggio with millefiori honey.

Meet the team
La Terrazza Kensington

Raffaele Lauriola

Head Chef

Raffaele Lauriola's delicious, contemporary twists on classic Italian flavour combinations are inspired by his native roots in Italy. As a boy in Northern Puglia he grew up surrounded by great, organic food and produce, and his style takes influence from that today. His culinary philosophy is to prepare dishes that combine the vibrant colours of vegetables with the simplicity of Mediterranean preparation, thus enhancing the taste of great and natural ingredients.

At La Terrazza Kensington, Lauriola takes the best seasonal produce and uses his unique vision and creativity to produce exceptional dishes, based on fundamental Italian culinary traditions.


This venue also offers

La Terrazza at Hotel Xenia
Private Group Dining

La Terrazza at Hotel Xenia

Hotel Xenia
Event Party Venue

Hotel Xenia

La Terrazza at Hotel Xenia
Christmas Parties

La Terrazza at Hotel Xenia

Location

160 Cromwell Road, Kensington, London, SW5 0TL

020 7442 4242 020 7442 4242

Website

Opening Times

Breakfast
Mon 07:00-10:30
Tue 07:00-10:30
Wed 07:00-10:30
Thu 07:00-10:30
Fri 07:00-10:30
Sat 07:00-10:30
Sun 07:00-10:30
Lunch
Mon 12:00-17:00
Tue 12:00-17:00
Wed 12:00-17:00
Thu 12:00-17:00
Fri 12:00-17:00
Sat 12:00-17:00
Sun 12:00-17:00
Dinner
Mon 17:00-22:30
Tue 17:00-22:30
Wed 17:00-22:30
Thu 17:00-22:30
Fri 17:00-22:30
Sat 17:00-22:30
Sun 17:00-22:30

Reviews

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3 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Julianne D

27 December 2023   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 0.5
Service 0.5
Atmosphere 1
Value 1

I don't like to write negative reviews because I understand it has an impact on business. In this case I must make an exception. The food was so bad I kept trying to decide whether it was closer to airplane food or a nursing home. It was that bad! I dined on Christmas Eve and it was a fixed menu. The food was all served lukewarm. The turkey dinner was so dry and old with only the slightest remnants of gravy. I had the strangest tiramisu for dessert which was comprised of old cake, which felt as if a child smooshed it together with old whipped cream. I'm sorry to have to write this review as I know they were probably just doing the best they can, but it was a terrible experience. 

Teety S

26 December 2023   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 4
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 4

Reserved for Christmas Eve for their 3 course menu, including a selection of 4 starters, 3 mains, and 3 desserts. Atmosphere was lovely in a well decorated and dimly lit restaurant that was by the outdoor garden. Appetiser and main were both great (Beef bersaola, bass), though dessert was just OK (personal preference), though plated nicely. Restaurant also gave all diners a christams cracker which was really considerate of them. Service was great, overall good value and enjoyable christmas eve well sepnt. 

Michael F

22 May 2013  
Food & Drink 5
Service 4
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
You have to try this new restaurant
I am normally a lurker on sites like this, but having eaten at the newly opened Evoluzione in Cromwell Rd, I am inspired to write my first reviews. Evoluzione has been open less than two weeks. They are still shaking down the service a bit, and the stock of wine is not quite what is suggested by the extensive wine list. Normally by this point, I would be quietly fuming and looking for the first opportunity to leave. However… The front page of the menu has an interesting philosophical discussion on flavour and healthiness. The essential point is that great food, especially great Italian food, can also be healthy. The food descriptions show all sorts of interesting combinations of flavours. There are also phrases like “low temperature cooked” that struck me as reminiscent of Heston Blumenthal at home. I ordered the low temperature octopus for the entree, and the low-temperature ostrich for the main. I blame Heston. Having tried slow cooking at home, I am fascinated by the flavours and textures that can be achieved. The octopus , quite simply, was out of this world. It was far and away the best octopus that I have ever eaten. Bar none. It was very tender, with none of the leathery texture that one often experiences. The accompanying tomato, basil, olives, and potato sauce matched the octopus perfectly. This was so good that before I had finished eating, I was searching online for sous-vide recipes to try this at home. The ostrich, once again slow cooked, was also fantastic. It came with asparagus, spinach and an excellent sauce. The meat was cooked medium rare, and was full of flavour and very tender. My only criticism is the I would have liked a little more sauce. If you are in the area, and appreciate something really novel in food without being way out, you just have to try this place,
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