Saturday, 14 September 2019

Core by Clare Smyth

Modern British fine dining as it should be

Scottish langoustine, wasabi pea, rose geranium and almond

This is my second time at Core, the fine dining restaurant by chef Clare Smyth in Notting Hill. One year later, a lot has changed since then, Core is now a double Michelin starred restaurant and has two tasting menus, one classic (which is what I had from my first visit) and a seasonal menu, which use more luxury and premium ingredients. I really enjoyed Clare's style of cooking from my first visit, very clean and extremely refined at the same time. The only reason put me off heading back is mostly down to how popular it is, you got to plan well ahead to book a table. I opted for the seasonal tasting menu for my second visit, a 7-course menu with canapes and petit four, at £145 per person.

Canapes of eel, chicken wings and foie gras
Girolle and toasted buckwheat tart, fresh almonds
Cornish brill, oysters, cucumber and caviar
Cheese and onion' alliums, aged cheddar and onion broth

The dishes were hard to fault, I witnessed some really highly technical skilled dishes, with some really outstanding flavours. The first dish was the Scottish langoustine, it was as exquisite as you can get in London. The peas were so sweet and fresh, which worked so well with the beautifully cooked shellfish and the wasabi touch added a cool tone to the dish. The Cornish brill was another strong dish, looked simple visually but the taste was sensational, it was so moist and the touch of oyster, along with the caviar created a whirlpool of umami taste to the fresh brill. I normally don't write about dessert but the Core tester of chocolate and hazelnut was pure joy. The combination of chocolate, caramel, and hazelnut was perfectly balanced, rich but not strong, with a playful and cheerful presentation, it was a stunning finish to a wonderful meal.

Lamb, hogget and mutton celtuce, savoury and black cardamom
Cherry Bakewell
'Core-teser': chocolate, malt, hazelnut
Wine gums and warm chocolate tarts

I had one of the most impressing meals of the year so far. Not a single dish on the day was not enjoyable, they were either great or extremely great. You might wonder why I only rate it 4.5, and that is because I still think some dishes have room for improvement to take it to the next level. For example, the lamb dish at Core, I just found another restaurant not far from Core has a better presentation, more interesting, unexpected flavors, and so refined at the same time when it comes to cooking up a lamb dish. Having said that, Core totally deserves its 2 Michelin stars, it has a casual but elegant decor, along with some really professional and slick services, what is not to love? I am really happy to see Core growing from strength to strength, and would be more than happy to head back in the near future.

Food 4.5/5

Executive chef: 

Clare Smyth

What I paid: 

£215 pp with wine

Average cost without drinks and services:

£145 seasonal tasting menu

92 Kensington Park Rd, London W11 2PN

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