Review: Kitchen at Holmes
Review: Kitchen at Holmes
Angela Zaher checks out this fabulous dining gem on Baker Street
My mouth waters at the thought of Mediterranean cuisine. I imagine fresh, vibrant flavours in vivid colours, all liberally seasoned with sunshine. I love the contrasts and variety it offers from a delicate creamy Apulian burrata to a robust shakshuka (North African but bordering on the Mediterranean so easily included in the cuisine). The breadth and depth of the food can all be found under one roof: Kitchen at Holmes, a Mediterranean restaurant on Baker Street.
This is elegant, refined Mediterranean, more Conran Shop than Greek taverna by the sea. Modern, stylish, pared back with round Italian Carrara marble tables, velvet upholstered dining chairs and an expansive herringbone floor – the epitome of understated luxury. The surfaces are as polished as the service – attentive, friendly and helpful. It lives up to its “Kitchen” name as the kitchen is a main feature of the dining room. A large kitchen island occupies one wing of this spacious restaurant and is surrounded by the crew busily plating dishes, chopping things and prepping octopus (gruesomely entrancing). A striking aspect of this kitchen was how much laughter and mirth was emitted from it. Everyone seemed happy to be there, working harmoniously together – their conviviality was infectious and set the mood for the diners.
Our evening started with a chemistry experiment. The Holmes homemade lemonade comes in a tall glass of chilled butterflypea tea – a herbal, caffeine-free tea that is deep blue in colour. Alongside it is a shot glass of lemon juice. When added to the tea, you watch, mesmerised as the pH level of the lemon juice changes the colour of the tea from blue to purple. Fun and theatrical.
The focus at Kitchen is on serving high quality, seasonal ingredients from the field, sea and land. Iberico ham sits next to lamb koftas, artichokes are served on a bed of romesco sauce scattered with za’atar. The food is sourced from British suppliers but cooked with a Mediterranean flourish. A very broad expanse of the region is covered from Spain to North Africa via Italy, Greece and Turkey. The stand out starter was grilled octopus – a beautifully charred tentacle, scattered with za’atar and served with labneh, an inspired accompaniment for this succulent meat. For our mains we chose a ribeye, from the Lake District; it was on the right side of bloody and very melt in your mouth. Our other main was shakshuka; bright orange oozy yolks swimming in a sea of tomato sauce that had a comforting harissa kick to it.
We ended our meal with two decadent Italian desserts. The chocolate bonet – a creamy chocolate and amaretti dessert traditionally eaten in the summer months in Piedmont, Italy – was rich and intense, the grown up in the room, whilst the Amalfi Lemon Delice was exuberant and refreshing. Both equally delightful.
Kitchen at Holmes is at the top end of Baker Street, the part that is more touristy than foodie – but don’t overlook it. The food, service and decor is high end and makes a big impression; it’s a good place to go with somebody you want to impress.
Kitchen at Holmes, 108 Baker Street, London W1U 6LJ