27 January 2015

KENSINGTON QUARTER

I recently attended a dinner at Kensington Quarter, the fifth and newest restaurant from the Quarter Group. The new venue is a café, restaurant, deli and bar adjoined to the Indigo Hotel in Barkston Gardens near Earl's Court, which opened in November. Head Chef Riad Zaik (previously at Oxo Tower Brasserie and Le Pont de la Tour) has created a modern Mediterranean menu of light, seasonal cooking using healthy, organic ingredients and fresh artisan produce handpicked from their delicatessen.

Kensington Quarter restaurant, Earl's Court, London

Upon arrival we sat down in the bar and we were served cocktails - the Strawberry Basil Spicy Daiquiri with rum, chilli and lime and the Kensington Infusion with jack daniel's no.7 American whiskey, crème de cassis, a drop of coffee and London stout beer - before sitting at our table.

Kensington Quarter restaurant, Earl's Court, London

Kensington Quarter restaurant, Earl's Court, London

Husband and wife team Doron and Valeria Zilkha opened the Brompton Quarter Café in Knightsbridge back in 2006 as a cafe/ patisserie/ bar, which went onto become the DNA of the Quarter Group brand.  Since then they've opened the Chelsea Quarter Café on the King’s Road, the River Quarter Kitchen in Battersea, The Heal’s Quarter in the Tottenham Court Road flagship store and the Royal Quarter Café near Buckingham Palace. Each venue is inspired by the neighbourhood spirit - the chic Chelsea Quarter has a totally different vibe to the informal café feel of Royal Quarter Cafe in Victoria - so they don't copy and paste the concept from one venue to the next.

Kensington Quarter restaurant, Earl's Court, London

Whilst Doron focuses on the kitchen side like hiring chefs and sourcing supplies, Valeria looks after the interiors, working with the award-winning interior design practice Dexter Moren Associates to create a stylish, relaxed environment perfect for all-day dining.

Kensington Quarter restaurant, Earl's Court, London

Kensington Quarter restaurant, Earl's Court, London

We went for the tasting menu so we could share lots of dishes - for starters we had the smoked duck leg confit salad with melon, cashew nut, pomegranate and poached duck egg, the oven-baked goat's cheese tart with red onion marmalade, beetroot, apple salsa and piquillo pepper dressing then the grilled artichoke salad with broccoli, green beans, celery, parmesan and parsley.

Kensington Quarter restaurant, Earl's Court, London

Kensington Quarter restaurant, Earl's Court, London

For mains we shared the roast sea bass served with a Russian salad, lemon oil, potato galette and pea velouté, the five spices braised shoulder mutton with prunes, dates, roasted vegetables, quinoa and pomegranate coucous, then the absolutely delicious butternut squash risotto with wild rocket and shaved parmesan.  All three were good, but the squash risotto was the richest, creamiest one I've ever had.

Kensington Quarter restaurant, Earl's Court, London

Kensington Quarter restaurant, Earl's Court, London

For desserts we had the chocolate delice with berries and a gorgeous pistachio creme, the spicy banana and ginger tart tatin with pineapple salsa and lime mousse, then the lemon meringue pie with roasted plums and passion fruit syrup.  By jove I was full...  It's a great way to discover as much of the menu as possible though, as we each sampled nine dishes.

I very much recommend Kensington Quarter for dinner and drinks if you're in the area - I hope to go back for brunch or lunch and try out one of the other restaurants in the group too.

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Kensington Quarter, 34-44 Barkston Gardens, London SW5 0EW
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