The Handbook
The Handbook

Having fallen in love with Portuguese cuisine during a trip this summer to the Algarve, I was excited to hear that a Portuguese and Spanish restaurant was opening in Notting Hill. I was even more excited when I went down to review it.

What I first noticed about Notting Hill Kitchen, is how it welcoming it looked from the outside, big twinkling lights outside, and the warm glow from behind the windows. Inside the restaurant is a mix of woody and olive greens, it’s smart and yet relaxed, homely yet sophisticated.  On a Thursday evening the restaurant was packed with couples on dates, friends celebrating birthdays and The Handbook team.

The menu is divided into ‘land’ and ‘sea’ with a few vegetarian options for the starters and a just a couple in the main courses. Don’t like fish or meat? Perhaps think again about coming. Do like fish and meat, head over there, you won’t be disappointed.

We started with champagne and bread served with truffled egg yolk and sheep’s milk, a much better alternative to just oil. To start go for the Bacalhau dourado, to you and me that is shredded salt cod, straw potatoes, egg, Elvas oil and tomato and it was seriously good, a strong taste of cod, creamy, rich I could have easily eaten it as a main portion, it was decorated with 3 crisps which was a little unusual but the cod itself was brilliant.

We followed this with the octopus confit, which came with the boiled new potatoes and spinach, the 2 hunks of octopus were not at all rubbery and the outside was crispy and not too greasy. A simple meal, the flavours of the octopus were enough for the dish and a sauce was not needed to go with it, it was filling and yet light at the same time.

After falling in love with the salt cod for starter we couldn’t resist trying it again for a main course, on the menu was salt cod with potato puree and prawns. It came out as a fish pie which we weren’t expecting, the potato though was beautifully smooth and again it was much lighter than your traditional fish pie. We were only let down when it came to ordering the chargrilled tomatoes; at £3.50 we were a little disappointed to find we were served less than a whole tomato.

For pudding though our eyes went straight to the Portuguese tart, or Notting Hill Kitchen’s interpretation of it. Having gorged ourselves silly on them in Portugal, we were reunited once more. A rectangle of flaky pastry, and cream, custard like topping served with cinnamon ice cream it was silky, sweet I could have easily worked my way through at least two.

With lovely waiters and waitresses and a wonderful atmosphere Notting Hill Kitchen could be our new favourite addition to Notting Hill and great for a dinner date. If you can’t make dinner they have just launched a new set menu for lunch, with two courses for £17 and three courses for £21, and if you can start thinking about Christmas now they have just  launched  their set menus for those too, definitely worth checking out!