Kitchen W8 is a smart neighbourhood restaurant that has the encouraging buzz of an eatery that is as popular with those who have come from far as well as the locals who have just stepped in for a bite. The seasonal menu full of spring wonders caused the dilemma of not being able to choose as everything greatly appeals.
Our choice was made easier when we were brought homemade lemonade and wonderful sourdough poppy seed bread, which eased my appetite to consume everything on the menu. Then, once we’d placed our orders, we were presented with a delicious cheese pastry that was light and deeply cheesy – the only disappointment was that there was only one each.
To start we opted for a velouté of English watercress and the ravioli of Dorset crab. The velouté was a silky, vivid green that revealed the comforting fresh taste of spring, and the perfectly round mini-fishcakes and salmon rillettes had just the right balance of cucumber and dill. The ravioli came as a large single parcel of the lightest pasta, filled with sweet crab and covered with a delicate lemon butter sauce that was an ambrosial comfort classic. Truly delicious.
Where the starters were restaurant ‘classics’, the main courses were home-food ‘legends’. Our succulent roast Middle White pork came with the traditional accompaniments of salty crackling, creamed potatoes and pickled cabbage with apple, making this a meaty master class in Sunday lunch. We also chose the roast rump of veal, served perfectly pink with a fricassee of white asparagus, morel mushrooms and hand-rolled farfalle – a true merriment of spring flavours, and worthy in itself of a return visit.
We opted for two puddings at the opposite end of the scale: the clementine sorbet was clean and refreshing (perfect after the roast pork), while the salted chocolate parfait with honeycomb ice cream was soft, crunchy, salty and sweet, and a plate-lickingly good pudding.
Kitchen W8’s popularity may be unsurprising, given the relative dearth of quality eateries in this part of Kensington, but it is well-deserved nonetheless, not only because of the excellent food but also because of the excellent value-for-money (the three-course set Sunday lunch, for example, is just £25) and slick service that should affirm its popularity for years to come.