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Fine times at Kensington Wine Rooms

October 29, 2011

With friends in town (staying in Ealing) I was looking for somewhere for dinner that was central to us all – the perfect excuse to finally head to the Kensington Wine Rooms.

I was the first to arrive and, seeing how full both the bar and restaurant were, was rather pleased I had made a booking earlier that day. I was quickly shown to our table and ordered a glass of prosecco (as well as a jug of tap water – a carafe of which was instantly supplied and continually replenished during the evening). Bearing in mind that a key focus at Kensington Wine Rooms is the wines, the glassware is simple and complementary.

P and G arrived and each ordered a glass of red wine – there is a large selection available by the glass and the waiting staff are happy to make recommendations based on your likes and dislikes. We studied the menu and did have to wait for a little while to place our order – the restaurant was full by now and they clearly need to stagger the pressure on the kitchen! We all elected to try some of the wine recommendations for the dishes we chose.

To start P had the fish cakes with a glass of vouvray petillant naturel, G had the prawn, chorizo and broad bean salad with a glass of beaujolais and I had the char-grilled calamari with a glass of riesling. We all agreed that the wines went perfectly with the food on offer. The calamari was absolutely delicious, grilled to perfection with just the right amount of dressing and tiny slices of red chillies thrown in for the occasional burst of heat. The riesling was not too dry and an excellent match for the flavours of the dish. P and G agreed that their starters were expertly prepared and presented – all good so far.

For our mains, P and I both went for the duck confit with gratin, spinach and port sauce with a glass of Bourgogne pinot noir and G had the tempura fish and chips, minted mushy peas and tartare sauce with a glass of Macon-pierreclos – burgundies all round. G is not a fan of mushy peas but really enjoyed what was put in front of him. The duck was of the melt in the mouth variety and the gratin was very good (though possibly not quite as amazing as that produced by the potato wizards at Les Deux Salons!). The port sauce tasted more redcurrant than port, but was still pleasant. The wines (large glasses this time – all available in 125ml and 175ml measures) once again were perfect companions.

On to dessert where both P and G selected the chocolate sponge fondant with a glass of maury and I went for the lavender creme brulee and, for once, strayed from the recommended wine – going for a glass of muscat rather than the austrian eiswein. P and G were delighted with their choices – the chocolate sponge/fondant being rich and melting and accompanied by vanilla ice-cream with a nut brittle. The maury was sherry like on the nose and a great choice for the chocolate. There was both a fragrance and a flavour of lavender in my creme brulee, which was deliciously creamy with a perfect crisp on top. The muscat went well with the dish. Finally it was time for coffee, good and strong americano served by the mug – rather too much liquid for me but better to have too much than not enough I guess.

The staff were all friendly and knowledgeable about the menu and the wines. Food was presented immaculately and we really could not fault the quality. I would certainly like to return to the bar area and try out the tapas menu (which more of those wines by the glass). This is a lovely establishment which I am sure to return to soon.

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