PRICEY-POSTCODE BUMPKINS

W11 Notting Hill Bumpkin

0511-1112-2016-2810_Old_hillbilly_smoking_a_pipe_and_wearing_a_hat_clipart_imageBumpkins Restaurants are all about authentic, seasonal British food.  Bumpkin at Notting Hill, Chelsea or South Kensington serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and for trendy street food go to Bumpkin Kitchen Bar & Grill at Westfield in Stratford shopping centre.

The very name of this restaurant could be enough to put someone off!  The name ‘Bumpkin’ suggests a rather quaint little eatery, but the flagship Bumpkin at Notting Hill Gate is really more of a complex, containing a ground floor brasserie, 1st floor dining room, 2nd floor private hire room and even a whisky/backgammon lounge on the top floor. Aside from the garish leaf prints on the wall, the décor has a ‘rural but refined’ theme with plenty of wood and leather surfaces, set off by waiters and waitresses sporting ‘country girl’ and ‘country boy’ t-shirts. The service might well be as friendly as you’d get in the country but the prices, sadly, are not.

My starter portion of crab cakes cost £8. They were well-cooked; crisp yet fluffy on the inside with a good proportion of crab meat, coriander and chilli, but a measly size for the price tag. My friend had a goat’s cheese, Parma ham and cherry tomato salad that certainly contained all the ingredients mixed together, but the Tuscan magic stopped there.

I chose skate for the main course, which was cooked perfectly well in a simple butter sauce with capers, but was somewhat virginal in flavour. For fish purists this could well have been spot on, but I’d have preferred a little more seasoning and punch.

The emphasis at Bumpkin is on fresh seasonal produce that is locally sourced; all the fruit and veg is grown at ‘Secretts farm, just outside Guildford with no chemicals or pesticides’. All meat is ‘free range and free of additives and antibiotics’ which for me conjured up rather strange images of cows tossing their amoxicillin pills into the bin. The meat was clearly a ‘wow’ factor here with the sirloin steak costing £24, so my friend opted for a cheaper cut, the Aberdeen Angus burger. The minute I had a bite I was jealous – the meat was juicy, pink in the centre and mixed with onion, garlic, paprika and cumin, which gave it a warm and spicy flavour. It was finished off with some rashers of very good smoky bacon and gooey cheese, which managed not to overpower the meat.

Puddings were normal fare; we shared a slice of chocolate truffle with mascarpone and raspberries for £5. It had the right mixture of tastes sweet, bitter, creamy and tart but was nothing out of the ordinary.

Once you get past the pretension of Bumpkin and accept that its prices are pretty normal for the postcode, it is a pleasant place to eat with good service, quality ingredients and a welcoming atmosphere. The ingredients could be combined with more thought, but if you are looking for simple organic food, this could be the place for you.
— Emma McAlpine

Bumpkin – Notting Hill
209, Westbourne Park Rd
W11 London
www.bumpkinuk.com
info@bumpkinuk.com

 

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