Caractere restaurant. Image courtesy of the internet, as are all of these photos. NHYM.
209 Westbourne Park Road W11 EA
Tel 0208181 3850
I must apologise, especially to those who have signed up to my blog within the past few months, because I have not had one minute to write. But I have a good excuse! We moved houses, and as they say, it was very stressful. Actually, it’s been a stressful YEAR. There were peaks of stress when ceilings came crashing down, flooding that made a waterfall out of my ceiling and break-ins that led me to police statements and detectives. This year was hijacked by my selling and moving houses, but it has been all worth it (and really I should write a blog all about house decorating because I have so much useless information that I will never use again after I finish decorating this house). The good news is that I love it. This is the house-I’m-going-to-live-in-for-the-rest-of-my-life- house. If it’s possible to fall in love with an inanimate object, this is it. Of course, that comes with problems, I am obsessing at night over which fabrics to use out of 22,000 I was shown and I actually never want to go ‘out’ of the house these days. So, it does take quite a lot to get me to walk out my door.
Roasted scallops. NHYM 2018.
Luckily, I found this new restaurant which was definitely worth the walk to. Caractere is the baby of Emily Roux, daughter of Michel Roux Jr, of Le Gavroche fame, and Diego Ferrari, who was head chef there for three years. This place was destined to be a foodie-heaven baby. Caractere has taken over the Bumpkin space on Westbourne Park Road in Notting Hill, and has a contemporary art deco design which hits lots of trends – green and purple velvet chairs, sputnik orbit chandeliers, exposed brick, lots of gold and brass and marble table tops. And since I’ve been sucked in the depths of the interior design world lately, all I can do is covet the chairs and stare at what they’ve done and love it all.
Amuses bouches NHYM 2018.
But it’s the food that takes my breath away here. Everything I ordered was delicious. Perhaps it was a lucky pick in the menu of character traits of Delicate, Robust etc… but I don’t care. There were a few amuses bouches that started our tastebuds tingling, and then I ordered the artichoke starter. Let’s just put it this way, I’ve never tasted an indulgent artichoke before I came here. It was a starter to remember but my husband also found his roasted scallops equally as good. The cacio e pepe is supposedly their star starter so I will definitely need to come back to try it, given how much I already liked the artichoke.
Then, the rack of lamb literally melted in my mouth. The quality of the meat was really stand-out-ish and even though the portions looked small, they were quite rich and consistent. The grande finale was the chocolate cake with pecan praline, salted caramel sauce, and mascarpone ice-cream. Absolutely divine: I felt like we went to chocolate-heaven. A few days later, I ran into the friends we had gone with, and he still kept raving about the chocolate cake, saying he would go back just for the chocolate cake. I would go back for all the above frankly, but I am secretly hoping it doesn’t become like the Ledbury where it can take months to get a reservation.
The two lovebirds Roux and Ferrari have made a beautiful, young, contemporary baby out of Caractere, which may still be finding its feet (the service was hit-and-miss but friendly) but is likely to attract foodies and locals alike, all looking for a taste of foodie heaven. As for me, I will be hibernating in our house until that chocolate cake beckons me back, but I promise to write a little more, and come out of my love nest a little more.