First of all let’s start off with what a great a name for a British restaurant Scoff & Banter is and secondly let’s appreciate their aim – they say they’re there for us when silver service and tiny tasting menus are too much, but when eating with our hands is too little. A middle option, good, robust, no nonsense British eating.
There are several around the capital but we headed to the one on Gloucester Road which is part of the Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt hotel and has recently been refurbished with reclaimed furniture, a mix of wooden and metal chairs rustic floor boards, splashes of colour and intricate high detailed ceilings. The restaurant is large and open, which when it is busy would work in its favour, but when it is empty you do feel rather exposed with nowhere to hide – which is rather how we felt when we turned up.
The menu is made up of dishes such as wild game terrine, warm wilted kale and slow cooked garlic flan and seared scallops. A vintage cheddar and chive soufflé was wonderfully light, with the strong mature cheddar offset by sweet, almost caramelised, Meantime ale braised shallots.
The slow roast belly of pork came with a mini potato and bacon pie, crackling and pickled red cabbage. Had you been toiling in the fields or carrying out hard manual labour then it would have been perfect, but alas the most exercise we had got that day was climbing the escalators at the tube, and that barely raises an appetite so it was rather heavy. It needed something fresh and light to cut through it – fresh vegetables wouldn’t have gone a miss.
A rosemary butter basted veal chop came with duck fat chips, a fried duck eggs and black truffle butter was decadent to say the least, there is something overly indulgent in dipping crispy, fried chips in melted fragrant truffle butter. Although I think I could feel my arteries clogging with each mouthful.
After the mammoth meal we could just manage the assiette of English puddings which I highly recommend, a mouthful of Eton mess, Manchester tart and bread and butter pudding, again not the lightest of puddings but sometimes you need to embrace it.
It was a shame that the restaurant wasn’t busier as the service was great, the food was good and it does have the makings of a great restaurant. Perhaps it’s because people don’t associate Gloucester Road with having good restaurants and to be honest there is quite a mix – smart hotel restaurants sit next to garishly lit neon signed cafes, but next time you are thinking of somewhere to go then bear Scoff & Banter in mind.
Scoff and Banter Kensington: 68 -86 Cromwell Road, SW7 5BT 0207 666 1891 www.scoffandbanter.london