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Posh Lunch Club at Kitchen W8, Kensington

Posh Lunch Club last week could only be a success, for I was to be in affable company. Oliver Thring, fellow blogger and now writer, joined me for a sojourn to the wilds of Kensington. Always cheerful and ever sharp, I knew we would have some fun.

We had booked lunch at Kitchen W8, a restaurant not on my radar at all, and for that reason, I was keen to try it. It’s like watching a film without seeing a trailer, or reading a review, and not really being sure what to expect as a result.  It can be very successful or perplexing, I wondered what I would get. En route, I spied a tweet from Ollie, stating that they had tried to seat us at the worst table in the room, even though the restaurant was empty. I sighed and speeded on, as ever a fashionable ten minutes late. Chronoptimism, my faithful stalker.

On arrival I spied a beige room, with lots of emaciated blonde older diners, lots of Ladies-What-Lunch. As a less svelte brunette, I wondered if there was a notice barring my sort that I hadn’t spied, the sort with single barreled names, and double barreled bellies. I wondered where these ladies put the food they were eating. Must have been in their handbags or down the loo.  I perused the menu, it was intriguing and I was in excellent company and ready to tuck in.

We were interested in the set menu, fine dining on a budget is what Posh Lunch Club is, as you know. There were three courses on offer for a very reasonable £19.50, two options for each course. We opted for a bottle of house red, a French Cabernet Sauvignon, to power us through it.

For starter I went for a Raviolo of Duck with Rhubarb Chutney and Trompette de la Mort. My second raviolo with rhubarb in as many weeks, I am aware. I may need to change the name of this venture to Rhubarb Club if I continue.

It was a curious dish. The raviolo was lovely, with dense full flavoured and moist duck, enveloped in extremely graceful and delicate pasta, perfect in it’s supporting role, as it should be. There was some finely minced duck on top, which was a lovely textural contrast, but the rhubarb chutney underneath just didn’t work. I really don’t think it was a chutney either, it was just rhubarb. To quote Ollie, in order to be stylish, you take one item off before you leave the house. This dish should have taken this sage advice and left the rhubarb in the kitchen, it would have been perfectly lovely with a simple jus.

The room was filling up now, and a hushed but vibrant atmosphere was developing. Maybe I was settling into the wine. We both opted for the Peppered Flatiron Steak with Pommes Salardaise, Crushed Turnip and Bone Marrow. This was a fine dish, the steak served medium-rare as suggested, with a fine wedge of bone marrow atop. The pommes salardaise were stellar, a firm slice of rich potatoes with a delicious and intensely savoury crust. The flatiron steak was rich and full-flavoured. This was a bold meal with great flavours. An extra green side salad was dressed perfectly, and a good accompaniment. The only thing was I am sure that that turnip was in fact celeriac. No matter, I prefer it and was happy. I liked this course a lot.

Rhubarb obsessed and hoping for a better interpretation than the starter offered, I chose the Poached Yorksire Rhubarb with Stem Ginger, Almond & Orange for dessert. I never can resist it, I had it for lunch today too! I expected a compote but what arrived was some rhubarb on a cake base of sorts, with jelly and icecream and some wafers, effectively. Much better and I enjoyed it, it was understated but tasty and good for the price.

Our meal was over, time for coffee? No. More wine please! A whole bottle. Why not, we thought, it had been a while and we were enjoying catching up. It is precisely for this reason that I am now the proud owner of retro jelly moulds, a new moka and a retro icing set purchased on the way home.

Overall, it really was a pleasant lunch. The service was very professional and swift, the food was well executed and there is some good if adventurous and at times misguided cooking coming out of the kitchen. If in the area I might pop in for lunch again and see if I fared better, I don’t think I would go out of my way to explore. We did have a great time though and it is a lunch to remember, if not for the food, for the laughs and stories shared over the wine. And isn’t that what lunch is all about sometimes?

27 Comments

    • I did enjoy Rousillion when I went in December (I’ve yet to write it up!), must go for Posh Lunch Club. Will try La Trompette too. Cheers for the recs!

  1. Mark says

    That’s the best review I’ve seen, the critics were none too kind when it opened, especially about front of house.
    It is loosely part of the same ‘chain’ as the ledbury BTW, so not surprising that the dishes have a similarity.

    • Hi Michael. It wasn’t perfect but I did enjoy the flatiron steak. I know some people hated it when it first opened, but some others are of a similar opinion to me (see the review on An American in London).

  2. It was a terrific lunch, Niamh, and you were on brilliant form. Just for the record, the maxim goes: the secret of elegance is removing one thing before you walk out the door. Not that I abide by it.

    • Hey Ollie! I really enjoyed it and look forward to the next one. Harwood Arms perhaps? Cheers for the clarification :)

  3. What a great write up, and in fab company too :) – I’ve been wondering about Kitchen W8 but am definitely put off by the thought of all those Ladies What Lunch – oh dear!

  4. Sounds like a wonderful lunch. When I read the menu I knew exactly what I’d have and it turned out to be exactly what you chose too! Great minds!

    The flat iron steak looks fantastic. It reminds me of our steak tasting at Hawksmoor where it was one of my favourite cuts. Where are you going next? I love this series.

    • Thanks Jonathan! I adore flatiron steak too. Ollie and I chose the same courses also :)

      Next was River Cafe and Racine… Racine was astoundingly good. Next blog post!

  5. Yes, I hate being surrounded by emaciated blondes when I’m tucking into a delightful 3-course lunch. I may be blonde, but it’s been years since anyone accused me of being emaciated!

  6. “I wondered where these ladies put the food they were eating. Must have been in their handbags or down the loo.” Ouch. Not nice!

    I didn’t think the crowd was that uniform when I had dinner at Kitchen W8.

    I do agree the food was very good for a neighborhood joint, though not worth crossing town for.

    Are they still offering the game hot dog? That dish got a lot of press when they first opened –

    • I know, I was being uncharacteristically mean, but that kind of thinbg drives me crazy! I didn’t see the a la carte menu so don’t know about the game hot dog. It does sound good though!

  7. Pingback: Posh Lunch Club « Later On

  8. I am going to sound very provincial here but that seems like a lot of money just for lunch even though it does sound nice. But the I am used to northern prices. Never shop after alcohol – I remember one fateful night going on ebay and ending up with an antique Irish penny, a large flag and a signed photo of Barry McGuigan.

    • Hi Mary. For a fine dining lunch in London, it’s a very good price. You can of coruse get cheaper lunches, but that wouldn’t be a posh lunch, would it? :)

      Nice work with the ebay shopping :)

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