Neighbourhood restaurant in Kensington with extremely good value for money set menus at lunch and early evening. Ideal for pleasant lunches and more notable evening occasions.
This is my second and long overdue revisit to Kitchen W8 after several years. It has maintained its Michelin star and I’ve been meaning to get back as the pictures taken with the iPhone on the first visit simply won’t do by today’s standards. So it was good to get back and also give it another go as I did not think anything particularly notable on the first visit. As I was passing through today, I had every intention of going for the very reasonable set menu but was rather taken aback at the truffle tasting menu as every course just sounded delicious and the return for the price on the a la carte I had doubts on. So it was full steam ahead to truffle land.
The sour dough was made off premises and was fine as a fluffy and light option; thankfully there was additional salt on hand to assist the non-salted butter at the table. The amuse bouche of duck egg custard with truffle pesto layer and bacon foam was great and the slices of brioche with warmed slivers of ham was gorgeous. Logistically it was strange however, as the brioche ‘soldiers’ were too big to dunk in the shot glass (and gain a bit of every layer) as the title suggested, so presentationally that was a little bit of a let down and by the time I had scooped parts on to the soldiers I was left with a large amount of nothing but duck egg custard on its own owing to the size and shape of the mini glass cup (and the fact that the bacon foam was quite runny). When all were put together I thought the flavour was absolutely superb. I simply think the logistics of it were wrong and it would be better with the egg custard, truffle pesto and bacon foam in a flatter ramekin so that the soldiers could be dipped fully.
The macaroni cheese was lovely. Velvety, hand rolled and fresh macaroni with a lovely cauliflower and Vacherin Mont d’Or cheese foam were supported by the crunch of the cooked cauliflower and the floppy luxury of the thinly sliced white truffle – delicious and a complete winner of a dish.
The beef and dumplings was frankly a triumph. I loved the suppleness of the beef especially and the truffled mash with the crisp leaf and onion consommé was absolutely lovely. If I had to be ultra nip-picky, the it (the consommé) was not 100% transparent and had a tiny bit of cloudiness but the overall flavour of this dish was simply knock out.
If anyone who had this menu was getting worried that they weren’t full much, then not to worry the dessert felt like a week’s worth of calories in one dish anyway. The banana loaf with hot chocolate sauce and glazed bananas and truffle honey ice cream cake together very well although the immediate impression was that the truffle in the honey ice cream was a tad too powerful for me, but with a little less with everything else, it was a lovely combination.
Overall this was an exceedingly lovely menu and I was really pleased. It was also very nice to see a lighter, breezier and more atmsopheric Kitchen W8 in comparison to my first visit. The service appeared strained at the peak of service as the opening wait at the table was in danger of being too long, however, I was very well looked after throughout and the bar in both food and experience was a considerable notch up from my first visit.
Food Grade: 83%
Regrettably there was nothing that stood out as special on my visit to Kitchen W8 other than a reasonable menu. The inside appeared as if the decorators had just finished and the feel to the restaurant did not have a buzz for a Friday evening but a quiet, sombre feel. As I recall I dined here on a ‘date’ context and the full a’la carte was had and the amuse bouche and all options were very nice but unmemorable. Its trump card was being Michelin starred and having a set menu for the evening which is rare and a wonderful thing to have, particularly as it is keen on its neighbourhood quality, however I see from the website (at time of writing) that this has now been taken off which I hope is not an indication of wanting to simply rake more money in as opposed to giving diners a feel good factor. Would I go back? Purely if I was passing at lunch and wanted a quick menu if it existed (now difficult to tell from their website).
Food Grade: 66%
Location (Click google logo for directions)