A partnership between veteran restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas (of Sonny's in Barnes) and the Michelin-starred Philip Howard (chef-patron of The Square), the Kitchen W8 has become quite popular for dining out in Kensington, London since opening in autumn 2009. Mascarenhas previously ran the site with varying degrees of success, as 11 Abingdon Road and Bistrot Eleven, and despite the new cream and retro-wallpapered interior, it's still somehow a hard room to love. Not so the food, which, with Howard protegee Mark Kempson behind the stove, is clever, accomplished and creatively presented in dishes such as a tartare of Ayrshire beef with pickled radish, truffle cream and deep-fried quail egg. While the location might cry neighbourhood restaurant, albeit in one of London's most affluent neighbourhoods, the cooking is ambitious Michelin star-chasing stuff - with Howard involved, it was never going to be another bistro. The set lunch, Sunday lunch and early evening dinner menus offer an affordable way in for those that don't own their own Kensington mews.
Food: 8, Service: 7, Atmosphere: 6
11 Abingdon Road
+44 20 7937 0120
Open noon-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm Mon-Sat; 12.30-3pm, 6.30-9.30pm Sun