REVIEW: JACUZZI RESTAURANT
Review: Jacuzzi Restaurant
A fun new spot in Kensington
When it comes to stunning, ‘grammable restaurants, The Big Mamma Group has it nailed. The French-based restaurateurs reference holidays to Italy (Capri in the 70s inspired Gloria in Shoreditch, Circolo Popolare in Fitzrovia takes its cues from a Sicilian trattoria and Ave Mario in Covent Garden refs the duomo in Florence) then adds a whopping great dose of theatrics, upping the level with jaw-dropping out-there décor that manages to look beautiful and avoids being a tacky gimmick.
The latest to open is Jacuzzi in Kensington, inspired by a palazzo, and it really is a feast for the eyes. On the ground floor, there is sumptuous red banquette seating, glass chandeliers, tiled floors and a jaw-dropper of a bar as the backdrop, head up the tortoiseshell backlit staircase and another stunning room filled with foliage plus a retractable roof for warmer days (this is the ‘terrace by the sea’) then go up a winding staircase and you are in what looks like an indoor rooftop garden. Again, more foliage, green trellis fencing effects and, curiously, framed swimwear and pants adorning the walls. Apparently, this is the ‘boudoir’.
The whole place was stacked on a Wednesday evening, a mix of groups out celebrating big occasions and couples, all creating a fun vibe.
The menu changes regularly to reflect the seasons and ingredients are carefully sourced from expert Italian producers as well as top-notch meat and fish from UK suppliers such as high-welfare veal from Shropshire and Cornish scallops.
We fancied some burrata to start and then one of the two veal options – unfortunately on our visit there was neither burrata (which is a feature of three of the starters) nor veal. So we went for some nibbles: a focaccia stuffed with ricotta and croquettes filled with slow-cooked pulled veal. We then opted to share The King’s Scallops – juicy and served on a bed of potato cream and walnut gremolata – followed by a sharing dish of spaghetti served in a Pecorino wheel. The pasta is mixed with a creamy truffle sauce, Parmesan foam and black truffle and is theatrically presented with the waiter combining the dish at the table. It was delicious but so rich and best eaten really hot. We couldn’t manage it all, sadly. It was just too much… and I usually have a second stomach for pasta. A San Paolo Castelli di Jesi Verdichchio Riserva was a perfect match with the dishes we chose. To end on a sweet note, we went for what sounded like a light option – a ‘Nice Pear’ (really?) with poached pear, cream and chocolate fondant – honestly that sounded like the lightest choice. The pears were of a nice texture but again it was a very rich dish.
It was a cheery dinner in a fab setting. Personally, I would have preferred to have sat on the ground or middle floor as the décor in those two spaces really is eye-popping. I imagine others might prefer the smaller space of the ‘boudoir’ but the theme with all its green trellis didn’t really do it for me.
One to recommend for a birthday night out with a big crowd – though I’d hope to be able to specify where I’d like to sit as each room has a very different feel. I’d also consider more what I ordered as each dish we chose was very rich indeed.
What’s admirable about this group (apart from this its huge pulling power and ability to keep coming up with massively popular destination restaurants) is that it also has a big commitment to being sustainable. It’s certified B-corp, uses green energy and places a big emphasis on its sourcing. There’s another new restaurant afoot, too – this time in Marylebone Village. Carlotta will open in May and promises dishes inspired by famiglia-style Neapolitan and Sicilian classics with a retro Italian-American twist.
Main image: © Nacho Rivera
Interior image: Charlie McKay