>> Wednesday, February 08, 2012
This is the second post in the series Winter in London. Other posts include Bob, Bob, Ricard, Fernandez & Wells, Oxford, the Turf Tavern and Jamie's Italian, and the Trout Inn.
If you have any choice in which season to visit London, I would highly recommend the spring.
I first visited London this past year in April when flowering trees were all in full bloom. I stayed in a lovely hotel right in Kensington. Kensington is a leafy and affluent area on the West side of London. It's surrounded by other posh areas like Notting Hill and Knightsbridge.
I loved just walking around the neighborhood. There were tons of gorgeous houses, tree-lined paths, and quaint little streets. Artisanal bakeries, little boutiques, and other small shops lined the streets near my hotel.
My favorite part was this gorgeous garden right next to my hotel. I finally had a chance to walk through this garden to visit Kitchen W8.
Kitchen W8 is a new, one-Michelin starred restaurant opened in 2009 by Phil Howard, chef-owner of 2-star Michelin restaurant The Square, and restaurantaur Rebecca Mascarenhas. Humbly named after the the city zone in which it resides, Kitchen W8 aims to be your local restaurant that is your "home from home."
I had a chance to visit Kitchen W8 with several of my co-workers during one of my business trips. We were meeting up with some of our colleagues in the UK. Since we were staying in Kensington, this seemed like a great nearby option.
The ambiance inside is definitely warm and inviting, with neutral colored walls and colorful paintings on the wall. The dining rooms are sectioned off, so each individual room still maintains a cozy feel. The staff is friendly and the overall feel is relaxed. There's no sense of stuffiness or rigidness that you sometimes see in high-end restaurants.
Salt cod beignets
As an amuse, warm, crispy salt cod beignets are brought to the table. It's the perfect small bite to whet your appetite just enough so that you are ready to eat the rest of your meal! They were so good, I was a bit disappointed that we each only got to eat one. I would have gladly eaten a whole plate of these myself!
I absolutely loved my simple homemade gnocchi with farm fresh vegetables. The sauce was light yet flavorful, allowing the fresh flavors from the peas, morel mushrooms, and carrots to shine.
There were 5 of us who had dinner together at Kitchen W8. Because I did not have the chance to try everyone else's dishes, I cannot comment specifically on how each dish tasted. Overall, I can say that all the guests seemed quite pleased with their dishes and really enjoyed themselves.
Here are a few photos of their dishes!
Parfait of Fois Gras
Accompaniments for the fois gras creme - toast, jam, honey
Pan roasted fish with asparagus
Homemade Beignets with Pineapples
Bitter Chocolate Pudding
Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
I had a wonderful time at Kitchen W8. The staff was courteous, the service was excellent, and the food was well executed. Although none of the dishes particularly blew me away, all of them were very well executed.
Although the prices are not "cheap", the quality that you get for the price is pretty reasonable. They even have special set menus (e.g., a £17.50 2-course lunch or a £19.50 3-course lunch). If you come between 6-7PM Monday through Friday, you can score a two-course dinner for £21.50 or a three-course dinner for £24.50.
For this quality of food and ambiance (it is one Michelin star, after all!), it can definitely be a bargain.
Plus, who wouldn't want a chance to explore those gorgeous gardens while walking to the restaurant?
11-13 Abingdon Road
London, UK W8 6