Kitchen W8 is a neutral elegant space that serves up reimagined British European fusion where British favourites are intertwined with European classics. As with all innovations, it could be a hit or a miss but it is certainly going to be an adventure. Coupled this with friendly and knowledgeable service, it is a great choice for a casual catch-up with friends.
What is the food like?
Reimagined British European fusion. The creamy cod from Cornwall, seared then baked in the oven, was served with Italian gnocchi made from pumpkin. Oxtail was creatively used as filling for the Italian raviolo while the fillet of veal was paired with a Bavarian classic of spätzle (German pasta noodle). Traditional English Christmas ingredients like chestnut, bacon and sage were accompanying a French staple of breast of duck. Although there are some hits and misses, the refreshing combinations kept the tastebuds excited and conversation flowing at the table.
How is the drinks selection?
Delightful. A full service bar greets you on arrival with the regular spirits and cocktails. There is wide selection of wine – 11 champagne, 4 sparkling wine, 48 French reds, 28 French whites, 16 Italian reds, 11 Spanish & Portuguese reds as well as whites, 9 Italian whites and a handful from other wine regions. Prices range mostly between £45 to £150. The most expensive bottle on the menu was a 2005 Pauillac Cru Classé from Château Duhart-Milon Rothschild at £280.
What is the place like?
Neutral elegance. The initial impression to the restaurant wasn’t the best as the entrance was cluttered with service related equipment. Beyond that, you are in an elegant space decorated with calming green walls, matching green sofa, classy walnut floor, tranquil birds-in-the-forest wallpaper and Hans J. Wegner’s CH33-inspired dining chairs.
There are two distinct dining areas – a more formal area with rectangular tables for fours and a slightly more romantic area with smaller round tables for twos. The lighting is bright and warm with soft background music, perfect for a relaxed dining experience.
Who are the patrons?
Londoners on a casual catch-up with friends. Not many lovebirds, maybe the understated style doesn’t provide the wow-factor required for splash-out date.
How was the service?
Friendly & knowledgable. Service was prompt and friendly. Good knowledge of the menu and had no issue regurgitating the exact name of the three producers of the cheeses from the platter. But request for slices of lime for sparkling water required a couple of reminders.
Is it child friendly?
Yes. No age restriction, unlike most Michelin-star restaurants in London.
Is it dog friendly?
Not quite. It is priced at the top end, but the food quality, service and atmosphere was standard fare. The restaurant also charges a discretionary 12.5% service charge.
See below for what my dining companions and I indulged in for this review in December 2021 (prices quoted include VAT):
2015 Château Capbern (Do not Recommend)
This fruity red from the Médoc sub-region in Bordeaux didn’t work for us. It was decent on the nose with aroma of blackcurrants and liquorice. But it was wishy washy and left a bitter aftertaste on the palate. £98++
Perigord Truffle Risotto and 36 Month Aged Parmesan (Do not recommend)
The aroma from this dish was amazing with the generous portion of truffle, but it overpowered any other flavours that Chef Mark Kempson was showcasing with the sauce and parmesan. We also found the risotto slightly too al dente for our liking. £19.50++
Raviolo of Oxtail, Caramelised Onions, Field Mushroom and Red Wine Sauce (Strongly recommend)
An unusually heavy starter, but we loved it. Shaped like a giant Chinese dumpling, the raviolo’s skin was thinner, softer and had more elasticity than regular ones. The texture of the flavoursome oxtail worked beautifully with the sweet caramelised onions, woody mushroom, intense red wine sauce and sprinkle of sweetcorn, carrot and parsley. £17.50++
Smoked Haddock and Autumn Root Chowder, Mussel Kievs, Parsley and Quail’s Egg
This chowder didn’t win us over. It was a flavourful seafood consommé, but a touch salty to some and a bit too sour. It was certainly interesting with plenty of ingredients to discover as you work through it – bread crumb-coated mussels, smoked haddock, diced carrots and potatoes and runny-yolk quail’s egg. £13.75++
Roast Cornish Monkfish, Garlic Mushrooms, Sprouting Broccoli, Rosemary and Red Wine (Do not recommend)
Another mediocre dish – The roasted monkfish looked beautifully golden but it turned out to be slightly overdone, creating an unpleasant chewy crust. The sprouting broccoli was gorgeous with tasty garlic mushroom, rosemary and red wine sauce. £30.50++
Roast Fillet of Veal, Winter Truffle Spätzle, Wild Mushroom Bolognese, Celeriac and Thyme (Recommend)
We were split down the middle on this. The veal was perfectly cooked – tender and juicy. It was served with chef’s take on a classic Bavarian Oktoberfest dish – spätzle – a German pasta noodle in an average flavoured mushroom tomato sauce. £36++
Fillet of Cornish Cod, Pumpkin Gnocchi, Roast Cauliflower, Chicken Crackling and Black Truffle (Recommend)
A decent dish. Shallow fried cod was soft and tasty and worked gorgeously with the rich black truffle sauce. Pumpkin gnocchi had a nice bite to it and it was nice and soft on the inside. £31++
Breast of Duck, Wild Grains, Stuffed Cabbage, Quince, Chestnuts, Bacon and Sage (Strongly recommend)
Beautifully cooked duck breast with a tinge of red in the middle. Loved the play on Christmas ingredients of chestnut, bacon and sage. The cooked quince offered another unique dimension of flavours with a pear and apple taste combination. £30.50++
Side of Perigord Truffle Creamed Potato (Do not recommend)
Smelled amazing with the black truffle but potato wasn’t fluffy and lacking in butter. £7.50++
Valrhona Chocolate Aero Cake, Citrus and Vanilla Diplomat Cream (Recommend)
Loved the chocolate burst presentation. The sharp citrus flavour of the cream paired well with the airy yet rich and crispy chocolate. £9.75++
Warm Hazelnut Croustade, Vanilla and Caramel Roast Pear, Stem Ginger Ice Cream (Recommend)
Another good dessert. Multiple layer of flavours and textures working well together. Crunchy croustade with soft roast pear and even softer ice cream. Sweet vanilla and caramel with tinge of sharpness from the pear and ginger. £9.25++
Selection of 3 Cheeses (Recommend)
Generous portions of some of Britain’s best. A wedge of cow’s milk Lancashire cheese from Mrs Kirkham (mrskirkhamscheese.co.uk). Another wedge of ewes milk hard cheese from Berkswell (berkswellcheese.com). And a slice of brie-like soft cheese from Durrus (durruscheese.com). £11++