Reviews, Uncategorized

Restaurant Review: Caractère, Notting Hill


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.





Review: Notting Gill Chippy Fish & Chips Pop-Up Restaurant


All photos Courtesy of NHYM 2015. Copyright. 

This summer, Pop-Up restaurants are all the rage, bringing in tourists while the locals are on holiday. Pop Ups are oh-so-trendy, that when I was invited to try the latest Pop-Up fad, Fish & Chips, I couldn’t say no. Fish & Chips are having a revival, and like the recent Burger trend, it is back with bells and whistles.


Kensington Place, a Notting Hill stalwart, is housing a Fish & Chips Pop-Up during the month of August, housed in their usual private dining room. It boasts Fish & Chips twists on its menu like Lobster Thermi-bun, a lobster bun, and curry flavoured Fish & Chips. The Pop-Up has space for about 26 people, but is light, airy and its host, Jack is very enthusiastic and charming.


Now, Fish & Chips are not for the Calorie-counting, Carb-free, Atkins-diet, low cal/low fat crowd, which excludes a certain demographic in the neighbourhood (read: of the stick skinny kind). I, for one, am not a Fish & Chips expert, having had my last fish & chips about 15 years ago. But I am a local supporter and am very happy to support the neighbourhood Pop Ups! I asked Mr. X, more of a Fish & Chips connoisseur than I am, about these fish & chips and he approved.

Passion Fruit & Fish & Chips

Of course, as a side dish, I ordered a Passion Fruit Martini, which washed away the deep fried fish & chips and tartar sauce and sweetened my taste buds. To top it off, we had Jude’s salted caramel ice-cream which was delicious. Notting Gill Chippy is a lovely neighbourhood Pop-Up, for those looking for a quick, quintessentially British bite in the form of the National Dish, Fish & Chips. Enjoy! xx NHYM