The Handbook
The Handbook

Having opened back in 1987, Kensington Place, is one of Notting Hill’s most loved restaurants serving up British brasserie-style food with a strong focus on seafood and fish; all the fish comes from the aptly named Fish Shop which is an extension of the restaurant so you know it’s going to be super fresh.  Having visited their pop-up earlier in the year, The Handbook thought it was high time we went back to the main restaurant.

The restaurant itself has a nautical hints throughout and is light and airy with large floor to ceiling windows,  a bar at one end serving up cocktails  (ask for the blackberry crumble cocktail) and at the other end  a private dining space, it was also the location of their wonderfully popular Fish Bone pop up earlier this year.

Led by Head Chef Dan Loftin the kitchen has created a menu that is made up of classic dishes such as the KP Fish pie, beer battered fish and chips and braised suckling pig as well as a the market fish menu with seven different sorts of fish on it including lemon sole and halibut.

Sometimes you just want to strip everything back though and order simple dishes, so I began with a generous helping of thick slices of Scottish smoked salmon and cream cheese (although perhaps a cheese more was needed) with a little sprinkling of capers. It was delicious, perfectly smoked and oh so fresh.

That said I was slightly kicking myself that I didn’t order their signature starter – the spiced Devon crab with grilled chapatti, apple and cucumber, I did manage to steal a mouthful from my friend’s plate,  it wasn’t spicy it was rather like a crab version of coronation chicken so to say and I could see why it was so popular.

I followed this with a big bowl of steamed Shetland mussels and lots of bread to dip into the garlic and parsley sauce.  From the Market Fish menu we ordered the steamed salmon, again to say the helping was generous would be an understatement; we were presented with a hunk of succulent salmon which was beautifully cooked. Alongside this we ordered skinny chips and buttery, salty tender-stem broccoli – we were told one portion of broccoli would be enough for two, but take our advice and order a portion each.

For pudding it had to be the sticky toffee pudding sundae with candied walnuts which we had fallen in love with at the Fish Bone pop-up. Much lighter than the traditional pudding,(so you can definitely kid yourself that it is healthy, walnuts contain the good fats, don’t  you know?)  little chunks of sticky toffee pudding are hidden in  whipped cream and topped with toffee foam. The only regret? That I didn’t order two.

Smoked salmon, mussels and then sticky toffee pudding, it may not have been the most exciting of meals and I may not have pushed my culinary boundaries – but heck, less is more and this was definitely paid testament to that.