Kitchen W8 review interior by Andrew Hayes-Watkins

Kitchen W8 review

Kitchen W8 review

We try an incredible menu showcasing seasonal ingredients

I love the dishes of autumn, with the deep flavours of mushrooms and the appearance of game on the menu. If you feel the same, then Kitchen W8 is the place to head to.

Set in a gorgeous street in Kensington lined with Georgian townhouses, the Michelin-starred restaurant has been serving well-heeled locals and in-the-know foodies for over 10 years. It’s owned by Rebecca Mascarenhas and Phil Howard (who also own Church Road in Barnes) with chef Mark Kempson at the helm – who worked under Phil at the acclaimed The Square.

Everything about Kitchen W8 is elegant, simple and sophisticated. The decor pairs pale green against a cream backdrop, with gentle hints of silver leaves and bird motifs.

Charlotte Prescot oversees the front of house team, coming from a fine pedigree of restaurants including the River Café, and Phil and Rebecca’s Elystan Street. And a fine job she does here. You instantly feel at ease – well looked after without any hint of fussiness.

The British menu with a French influence features a list of things you really want to eat. All of them. It was hard to choose. But the hand-rolled linguine with truffle and aged parmesan was hard to resist.

It was quite likely the best pasta dish I have eaten. Utterly divine, it was savoury, flavourful, rich but not cloying, coating perfectly-cooked linguine.

My other half opted for the rump of veal with black truffle cream and pickled mushrooms. It was not how we imagined it would be, with the ingredients combined together – but it was spectacular. Unusual, clever.

As we move into game season, Kitchen W8 promises an entire menu dedicated to wild meat from 12 to 24 October. On our visit in September, there were two game dishes available. My husband went for the Yorkshire grouse with smoked celeriac, stuffed cabbage, damsons, liver and bacon. It came served off the bone as two delicious pieces of breast meat. It was so nice not to have to wrestle with the entire bird as is often the case when you order grouse.

My roast haunch of venison was served with new season ceps, baked beetroot and green peppercorns. For me, it didn’t need the addition of creamed cabbage, which was was a little too rich. The ceps were incredible and the beetroot worked perfectly alongside the wonderful piece of venison.

We also greedily ordered a side of Périgord truffle creamed potato – a deliciously smooth and creamy concoction.

The desserts here are a decidedly grown-up selection – we tried a toasted cobnut financier with roasted figs, and a set crème fraiche with poached greengages – I loved the warm beignets on the side and a hint of stem ginger in the fruit. Wonderful.

The option to have a glass of wine selected to match each dish made life very easy indeed. Each worked perfectly. Stand-outs were the Tenuta Monteti ‘Caburnio‘ from Tuscany and the Dominio do Bibei ‘Lalama‘ Ribeira Sacra.

Kitchen W8 manages that fine balance of feeling both relaxed enough to be a neighbourhood restaurant while also hitting the spot for a special occasion. The food is incredible, the service impeccable yet friendly – and we are already planning a return to sample the game menu…

11-13 Abingdon Road, Kensington, London W8 6AH

The 6 Course Game Menu will be available from Tuesday, 12 to Sunday, 24 October | £95 (£150 with wine pairing)

The 4 Course Truffle Menu will be available from Tuesday, 16 to Sunday, 28 November | £120 (£170 with wine pairing)



Images: Kitchen W8 interior and Yorkshire grouse by Andrew Hayes-Watkins

Mark Kempson by Sim Canetty-Clarke  @GBCHEFS