This airy addition to the ever-fresh Ferguson Lane complex offers a fair effort at classic British cuisine. Slotting into the slightly quirky space previously occupied by Grill Bull, Notting Hill British Cuisine is split into a conservatory and larger casual dining room. The latter is plainly dressed and plastered with stock photos and foodie platitudes, along with a clichéd cardboard telephone box. The darker, more intimate conservatory is definitely more appealing.
Juxtaposed too, the menu is also divided into parts. First, a page of stalwart British dishes including fish and chips (RMB98), half chicken (RMB108) and roast beef rib eye (RMB168). Then, a page of Mediterranean-sounding salads and pastas, such as a seemingly popular spicy aglio e olio clam linguini (RMB88). It feels like a localized version of a country’s sentiment, rather than a full immersion of its cuisine.
With that in mind, we tucked with vigor into a cone of piquant easy fried wings (RMB46) and found them small yet moreish. Similarly petite is a plate of truffled porcini and poached quail eggs on mini toast (RMB42), which ultimately lacked enough punch for the small bites to carry any weight.
Both appetizers act as good reminders that Notting Hill is perhaps not a full rendition of classic pub-grub but a more interpreted collection of dishes. It’s almost like we’re zoomed out to 0.8x, experiencing food and flavors at arm’s length.
While the fillets of fried fish are meaty and wrapped in perfectly light batter, they’re too tiny. The roast chicken is succulent enough but is virtually a poussin. Even a side of Yorkshire pudding (RMB18) feels like a puff of batter.
It’s difficult to get a full take on where Notting Hill is going. The tones are there. With a slight amplification on the plate and a more considered layering of the British thematic playbook, it could be a proper standout from the crowd.