Category: Bistro (££)
The Shed, just around the corner from Notting Hill Tube Station, is, well, a shed. A beautifully restored and well heated one that is, but nevertheless a shed. The wood smell, the warm lighting, the waiters dressed in lumberjack shirts, and the tools on the wall create a rustic, cosy and warm atmosphere which is of course a bit artificial but still incredibly charming. If it wasn’t for the most uncomfortable tables I have possibly ever sat at (turned-around barrels with wood tops and absolutely no space for even my short legs) I would make The Shed my new living room.
I was enchanted by The Shed before the first dishes arrived at my barrel and I sincerely hoped that the food would live up to the expectations created by the ambiance. And, I am glad to say, that mostly it did. There were no culinary surprises and I wouldn’t exactly classify The Shed as destination restaurants, but everything we ate (bar one dish) was tasty and well prepared and, particularly considering the area, reasonably priced.
We had a few of the ‘Mouthfuls’ (which are indeed only mouthfuls and difficult to share – although we managed) for 1.5 each. All three were good – the Chorizo, Gem Lettuce and Labneh Cheese mouthful was salty (in a good way) and flavourful, the Sardine Rollmop didn’t quite reach the deliciousness of a its herring counterpart but was almost there, and the Chestnut Mushroom Pate was in nice contrast with the crispy sour dough bread. These Mouthfuls were kind of fun to nibble on while deciding what else to order, but almost too small to fully appreciate the flavours.
The rest of the menu follows the trend of small plates (a trend I thought was so 2011, but seems to still stick around in 2013) and the menu is divided into a ‘Slow Cooking’ and ‘Fast Cooking’ section. The butternut squash (7) was slow cooked and came cold, mixed together with fresh spinach. The dukkah (a mixture of herbs and spices) and red onions worked nicely with the sweet butternut squash, but I found the marinade to intense and would have preferred a ‘drier’ version of this dish. We were intrigued by the Oak Smoked Potatoes (5), also from the Slow Cooking section. Even though £5 seemed rather over the top for three measly potatoes, they tasted wonderful, rich and smoky with crispy skin.
The remaining dishes we ordered were ‘Fast Cooking’ ones: I enjoyed the combination of the sweet beetroot with salty samphire topped with slivers of crispy bacon (7.5), and the moist red gurnard (8.5) served with a generous helping of salsify on a buttery sauce was beautiful. The beef steak (9) came medium rare and tender and even though the blobs of horseradish cream arranged around the steak looked rather hideous, they tasted lovely when slowly melting on the meat. There was only one rotten apple among our dishes and this came in the form of a vile, inedible anchovy dressing. A beautiful pink lamb (8.5) was served with this bile-green atrocity which was unpleasant not only in taste but also in texture and looks.
The Shed has been created by Oliver and Richard Gladwin who wanted to transfer a piece of rural Sussex into the centre of London. According to their website, most of the produce is sourced from the farm of the youngest Gladwin brother which I find rather charming. Delightful also the little seed present, I just wish I had a garden to sow my salad rape.
- Food: 7/10
- Service: 8/10
- Ambiance: 9/10
- Value for Money: 7/10
- Chances of Returning: 70% (if I get a proper table next time)
- Verdict: A little countryside escape in the middle of Notting Hill with very decent food