What can you tell us about Caractére?
It's the first restaurant from husband and wife team Emily Roux and Diego Ferreri. Roux is the latest in her culinary family to enter the restaurant business and looks after front of house while Ferrari, former head chef of Le Gavroche is in charge of the kitchen.
And what kind of food can we expect?
It's certainly close to the French fine dining of Le Gavroche, but in a much more relaxed atmosphere. And expect larger portions than your usual French haute cuisine.
Where is it?
It's in Notting Hill, about a 5-minute walk from Westbourne Park tube station. It's on the corner of Ledbury Street and only a couple of minutes walk from that restaurant.
Where should we meet for a drink first?
In this area, some of the best choices lie on Portobello Road, which is just a few streets away, although nearby The Oak looks like a good bet too.
And what's it like inside?
Caractere has taken over an old Bumpkin site, but it's changed dramatically from those days. The exposed brickwork matched with dark velvet seating gives it an extremely cosy look.
What about the food?
The menu itself is divided into sections which help to give a rough overview of the food on offer. So there's Curious (the closest to a starter section), Subtle (vegetarian), Delicate (seafood), Robust (meat), Strong (cheese) and Greedy (dessert). Everything's available a la carte, or you can go for their tasting menu and choose a (slightly smaller) dish from each of those sections for £78 (the table doesn't have to order the same dishes).
We went somewhere in-between - taking in most of the sections from the a la carte menu. Food was on the generous side, but also priced on the punchy side, so if fancy a lot of the dishes, the paired down tasting menu does sound like the best choice. There's also a set lunch menu, with only certain dishes available (including the cod, risotto and chocolate below), for £39 for three courses.
Here's what we had on the night:
And what about the "Greedy" section (dessert)?
Yes, we left room - and there's a signature dessert that you won't want to miss.
And what about drink?
Wine starts at £8 a glass (125ml) or £30 a bottle - and there are a few available at the £30-33 price point. But if you're looking to push the boat out, there's always the "Grecco di Tufo, Giallo d’Arles, Quintodecimo" from Campania at £75.
Emily Roux and Diego Ferrari have got a winner on their hands here. The restaurant was buzzing when we visited on a Tuesday night - not a free table to be had - and there's a real expertise on show in the food we had on the night. Expect quality fine dining in a laid back atmosphere.
More about Caractère
Where is it? 209 Westbourne Park Road, London W11 1EA
How to book: Book online
Hot Dinners dined as guests of the restaurant. Prices correct at time of publication.
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