Kitchen W8, London


Unlike other Michelin starred restaurants, Kitchen W8 main brief is to bring affordable priced food to the local community. The word "affordable" certainly ticked the box for us, being a relatively somewhat cheaper than most of the michelin starred restaurants that I have encountered. Kitchen W8 seems to be unknown to the public, located just off Kensington High Street. 

This would be a place that I know would not sort of take a massive whack on my bank account to treating Mr. T's birthday celebration. The restaurant is bright and modern, white table lining cloths that is not overly too posh but still filled with well-dressed manner clienteles, it was mainly couples on the night and also a large group of another birthday celebration. Perfect ambience for a intimate talk sharing the love of food and wine without the noise or trying too hard to impress.

Tasting Menu

Amuse Bouche - Cripsy Thins with Pea Purée and Mint Oil

Sourdough Bread

Let me start by stating a birthday tradition of ours, dining at a top notch restaurants for their tasting menu and not forget about the unassumptious amount of alcohol of wine pairing with the meal. Bread and amuse bouche was bought to the table, I do not know if I should count the crispy thins as a amuse bouche if so it was very uninventive. The sourdough bread, it smelt fantastic and it looked very well baked, airy, light and an excellent crust. I missed the opportunity to try it as I'm trying to cut down on my bread consumption, my companion enjoyed the bread every bit of it (obviously he did not eat the whole loaf).

New Season’s Norfolk Asparagus with Italian Egg Yolk, Hazelnuts and Organic Quinoa

Grüner Veltliner ‘Rosenberg’, Anton Bauer, Austria 2013

If you had to pick a vegetable to be a star of its own show, asparagus would be my first choice. Swapping it to green beans or broccoli, certianly that will not work. The first course is asparagus with Italian egg yolk, hazelnuts and organic quinoa. The egg yolk is made into sort of a dipping sauce, it has a thick consistency so it is probably cooked in a water bath for some time in low temperature. Topped with crispy hazelnuts and deep fried quinoa for extra texture. I do wish I get more than two stalks of asparagus as it was cooked to perfection. Personally for me this was the best executed dish of the night which was a shame when the first dish brings you to the high and exponentially declined for rest of the night. Paired brilliantly with the Grüner Veltliner 'Rosenberg' (RRP ~£10).

Thinly Sliced Rump of Veal with Hazelnut, Morels, Parmesan and Spring Peas

Maranoa Verdelho, David Traeger. Victoria, Australia 2010

Slices of tender meaty veal with hazelnuts, morels, Parmesan and spring peas. Not too sure where the hazelnuts and Parmesan comes through the dish. It is a well cooked dish but feel as though it lacks a sauce, it can seemed a bit dried. Paired with a lovely glass of Maranoa Verdelho (RRP £14.95), citrus aromas with ripe apricot and fine crispy acidity.

Confit Sea Trout with Smoked Eel, Watercress, New Potatoes and Pickled Beetroot

Chardonnay, Quartz Stone, Glen Carlou, Paarl, South Africa 2012

I've not had confit fish before, the confit sea trout it had the appearance of raw fish and inbetween the texture of a fish that is not fully cooked so it is still rather slimy but not like raw fish. I love raw fish (noticeably sashimi) but this dish did not work for me at all. The texture of the fish was just weird, with a bland watercress sauce and the new potatoes and beetroot was shadowed by the fish. Mr T. seemed to have liked this dish a lot and even demolished rest of my plate. I guessed this was down to personal taste. At least the wine was so much better than the dish, Glen Carlou Quartz Stone Chardonnay (RRP £18.49), rich and luscious mouth feel of peach and tropical fruit flavours and a lingering of oak finish.

55 Day Aged Middle White Pork with Smoked Celeriac, and Charred Pear

Pinot Noir, Ma Maison, Leung Estate. Martinborough, New Zealand 2011

Last of the main, white pork with smoked celeriac and charred pear. Lovely pieces of pork but tending towards driedness and could have benefited with a bit more pinkness to it. The cooked lettuce bought sweetness into the dish along with the pear, it is a well balanced dish. Hitting on a high note with the Ma Maison Pinot Noir (RRP £22.74), black cherry aromas with hints of spicy oak, good balance of tannis and youthful acidity.

Vanilla Parfait with New Season’s Mango, White Chocolate and Lime

Muscat Saint Jean de Minervois, Domaine Simon, Languedoc, France 2012

Anything to do with mango and I am sold just like this brilliantly executed dessert. The parfait so airy and smooth balanced with sweetness of mango and a hint of lime from the cream. In contrast, the white chocolate set off a crunchy texture. The palate of the muscat is sweet and medium bodied, with a very pure fresh fruits flavour which went very well with the dessert.

Chocolate Pavé with Salt Caramel Ice Cream, Hazelnut Milk and Lime

Maury Red, Mas Amiel. Languedoc, France 2012

The second dessert was similar to the first dessert that was served which was a disppointment as you would expect something different. The texture and and the presentation was the same, the only differences are the colour and flavour. Chocolate pavé, essentially chocolate mousse in a rectangular form with salted caramel ice cream that was so divined and hazelnut milk (a flavoured cream?). It's good but I wouldn't want the same dessert twice in two different flavours. Maury Red is new to me, said to be rival of a good LBV Port. Mas Amiel Maury Red (RRP £13.95), deep ruby/purple colour with full riped fruits and Grenache's trademark black pepper to balance the sweetness.

Birthday gift - Dark Chocolate Truffle

Finishing the meal with a little gift from the restaurant, sinful dark chocolate truffle that melts in the mouth. There was no petit fours unless the truffle counts as it and tea/coffee was not offered, which could have have been a perfect finish to the meal.

There's something about this restaurant that's missing a star for me. The food is very skilled but not always to taste and perhaps can be more adventurous. The wine was paired brilliantly. I can see why the locals would love it, there's a casualness to it without the pretentious of high class. The service was right on spot most of the time, attentive and friendly. What it did not hit the spot was the failure of serving the food and wine while one was away from the table and not returning to for explanation to the other person. The lack of care to details can be a frustration. Kitchen W8 is a steal for affordable fine dining for a Michelin starred restaurant, especially for the set lunch which you will leave with a massive smile on the face.

Score Rating: 3/5
Price: £25-100/head (~£220 for 2 people)

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