Saturday, 28 August 2010

Like the sun setting over the Spanish coast. A look at L Restaurant, Kensington.

In the heart of Kensington, L Restaurant stands out from their many competitors with its contemporary Spanish theme. Set over two floors, including a main dining area and a slim mezzanine area overlooking the diners on ground level it is a sleek but open feel. The decor is warm and somewhat romantic, with domineering red complimenting wooden framed mirrors on one wall which contrasts with the warm sandy wall on the other side. In addition, candlelight floods the room making it an ideal setting for a date. I came to L Restaurant with my boyfriend’s family, due to its prestigious location and availability on my tastelondon card. We were all impressed with the atmosphere and the friendly but not pushy service. We settled on a bottle of Spanish white wine for before ordering our starters. The wine list was comprehensive and ranges in price starting from £14 while the priciest bottle is a French red at £90.
My starter of scallop risotto was a heavy start to the dinner, perhaps a little more glutinous than I had expected and to my disappointment, featured merely one scallop finely chopped. The flavour of the scallop came through on the occasional bite while the dish was dominated by the Sobrasada paste, a Majorcan specialty made out of red sausage and paprika. A manchego cheese crisp decorated the dish nicely as well as giving it another level. It almost seasoned the dish with its subtle piquant crispiness, a delight in terms of texture and flavour. The others settled on crispy goats cheese with a red pepper and pine nut salad. It wasn’t until a later look at the menu that they realised their goats cheese came with an unimpressive side of lettuce garnish- no peppers or pine nuts to be seen.
 The main course was the star for me, a succulent duck breast on a bed of spinach served beautifully in a circle around a whole poached pear. The pear was poached in a deep red wine and gave the dish a dramatic look, as well as taste. The spinach was wilted to perfection and cut through the rich pear to balance the intense flavours. The duck was cooked to my liking, pink on the inside, crisp on the outside and almost melted in my mouth. We chose a dry red wine which went very well with my main. Portion size was fair and left me with just enough room to sample dessert. I could not resist trying the chocolate fondant which was served with pineapple sorbet in a brandy snap basket. An odd combination but a mouth watering one, the fondant was decent but the highlight was the sorbet. It was a refreshing end to a heavy meal, at the risk of sounding cliché I must add that the sweet tanginess of it almost transported me to a tropical island and with the decor reminding me of the sun setting over the Spanish coast- it was a nice touch. If only the menu separated the two elements of the dish altogether.


On top of the A La Carte menu, L restaurant offers a tapas menu with plenty to choose from. The evening was a pleasant one and I would happily recommend a visit to L restaurant in Kensington but perhaps choose a more balanced menu than I did!

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