I do eat out a lot and in London there’s so much choice it’s mind boggling. But I don’t often go Michelin Star, generally preferring more casual and well priced options. Today’s an exception as I’m heading for beautiful Notting Hill and the fabulous CORE by Clare Smyth.
CORE opened in August 2017 and has two Michelin stars. Clare has worked in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the world including as Chef Patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Hospital Road before going out on her own. She has previously been named the world’s Best Female Chef by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and CORE sits at 66 on this prestigious list. Iit’s simply fabulous modern British food with presentation to gasp over, fabulous flavours and innovative dishes using the best of British produce. All eaten in stylish surroundings with impeccable service.
What’s on the menu
There are plenty of surprises along the way, too. Our orders were taken after much pondering and as if by magic a wonderful selection of four surprise canapés appeared. Clare’s taste on jellied eel served on toasted seaweed and delicately sprayed by with malt vinegar was beautifully salty with the added sweetness of the eel morsel.
Beautiful little foie gras parfait tarts with Madeira was dramatically served atop a piece of turf. Simply heaven in a mouthful.
Deconstructed and deboned crispy, smoked chicken wings were beautifully flavoured with beer, honey and thyme. The humble wing elevated to incredible new heights.
And finally this cute little pumpkin gougere. The lightest of chop pastry puffs filled with a wonderful pumpkin puree.
How’s that for a sensational selection? And so innovatively presented. Time for starters.
I can’t remember ever been presented with such a beautiful plate.Isle of Mull scallop tartare served on a beautiful bed of greenery and flowers. A surprisingly large portion served with a sea vegetable consommé. And what a consommé – I could easily have drunk a whole bowl of its deliciousness. The scallops were sweet and tender, and oh so fresh. Absolutely superb.
The innovative Shoreham Park spelt dish with crispy chicken skin, sweetcorn and caviar for a bit of added indulgence. And a silken, sumptuous sauce.
Roasted monkfish served with Morecambe Bay shrimps, Swiss chard and brown butter. What wonderfully cooked fish and the perfect mix of textures and flavours.
Duck and red grapes with thyme, honey and a sprinkle of Timut pepper which hails from Nepal and has a slightly zesty flavour. Tender, pink duck breast topped with little dots of grape-like gel served alongside a pastry shell filled with confit duck and topped with thinly sliced grapes. I can’t imagine how long this dish must have taken to arrange on the plate. Simply incredible and so packed with flavour.
Sensational sweet treats
And then it was time for another surprise – this perfectly beautiful apple which is actually the softest of apple mousse surround some baked apple pieces. Wonderful.
I’m not usually a dessert eater but at CORE there is no two-course option. So as pudding’s included in the a la carte three-course price it had to be done. And actually I don’t think I’ve ever been more pleased to receive it.
This masterpiece is ‘The other carrot’. It’s a beautiful mousse built into a carrot shape with scattered carrot cake crumbs below and above. And a carrot sorbet on the side. Carrot sorbet is surprisingly yum. Doesn’t it look incredible?
Yet another work of art, this is called ‘Pear and verbena’. A sorbet made with Williams pears with a beautifully deep pear flavour. Simply stunning.
And still more more surprises. Warm chocolate and clementine tarts and little jellies atop a lacquered log called ‘Sauternes and Banyuls’ . Both types of dessert wines make for lovely little alcoholic sweet treats.
Core is simply stupendous. And Clare greeted me from the glass-fronted kitchen as I walked in which made me feel instantly happy to be there. A thoroughly great experience to be savoured in every way.
Today’s price point
There are three options on CORE‘s menu.
Core Classics for £125 (seven courses)
Core Seasons for £155 (seven courses)
A la carte for £75 (three courses with plenty of extra tasty surprises along the way).
There’s a wide choice of wines available from £50 upwards.
CORE by Clare Smyth is at 92 Kensington Park Road, London W11