Yesterday was my Nonno’s birthday. My very Italian grandfather doesn’t often stray far from his own kitchen anymore. “Why would I pay for someone to cook for me when I could cook the same thing, but better?” he exclaims while making a particularly Italian hand gesture. Seeing as they’ve been to and tried most of the restaurants worth trying in London, only a few have been allowed to remain an option when said straying from the kitchen occurs.
Kensington Place in Notting Hill has been a birthday tradition for many years. I remember going countless times when I was visiting London as a child for birthdays or celebrations. As the owner is a family friend, the staff always ensure we have an excellent dining experience, and this birthday was no different.
The staff were warm and welcoming, and we were seated in the middle of the dining room with the restaurant’s beautiful mural in sight. Kensington Place is always buzzing and I would definitely recommend making reservations in advance. The food was exquisite as always, and service was impeccable.
After our meal, I gave Nonno my gift. I found I had exhausted all the golf and cooking related gifts and had to come up with something more inventive. I popped into Lina Delicatessen the day before with an Italian gift basket in mind. The staff were incredibly helpful, and after mentioning my Italian roots, went above and beyond to help with ideas for my gift basket. Before leaving, the owner insisted I took some baci (little Italian chocolates filled with hazelnuts) on the house. Lina Delicatessen is located in Soho and I think you should go check it out.
Pan Seared Scallops with Broad Beans, Pomelo, Mint, and Chardonnay Vinegar
Carpaccio of Mackerel Daikon, Lime, and Watermelon
Ballotine of Loch Duart Salmon with Oyster Vinaigrette and Pickled Vanilla Cucumber
Pea Soup with a Crouton and Chives
Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto with Spring Onions and Pecorino
Roasted Pollock with Ricotta Gnocchi, Homemade Raisins, Cauliflower, and Parsley
Fish & Chips
Vanilla Bavarois Poached Pear, with Honeycomb and Amaretto
Poached Strawberries with Strawberry Parfait, Vanilla Mousse, and Caramelised Pastry
Happy Birthday Nonno xx