John Burton-Race is back in London after 12 years with The New Angel, taking over The Chesterfield pub, below Assaggi’s on the stunning Chepstow Road in Notting Hill.
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The inside of The New Angel had the look and feel of a gastropub that had been slicked-up to within an inch of its life. A smart little bar, set for dinner led into a bright dining room with elegant tables, brown armchairs and a to die for cheese trolley loitering in the corner.
We sat in the front of the restaurant, near to the kitchen and little bar. The menu was modern European with a very strong French influence and it was fabulous. We loved this place, from start to finish. But I did feel that the waiters coming out in a line to present the food, like you would expect if you had dinner with your nan at the Ritz, was a tad unnecessary. They should chill out and let the food do all the fussing.
To start with I had their signature dish, The New Angel Steak tartar. Two glorious quenelles of beautifully textured beef, spiked with capers and a Jersey rock oyster that gave it an extra salty-savoury hit. This was served with a sweet truffle mayo and an incredible horseradish sorbet, which melted into the steak and fired it up with a cold peppery slap in the face. We also had a fabulously light spring salad of asparagus, beans, pea shoots and creamy goats curd, with little crispy quails eggs that oozed into a wicked hazelnut and tarragon dressing.
Mains were equally good. Rare cooked veal sat on a bed of crisp broccoli and cèpes, with wonderfully cheesy goats curd and truffle tortellini. This was covered in an incredibly rich wild mushroom cream. The results looked a little school dinners, but the unctuous rich flavours were incredible. Looking stunning, was their perfectly seasoned and beautifully delicate John Dory, with fresh samphire and little new potatoes, in a rich shellfish cream, with a massive Devonshire crab and scallop stuffed courgette flower that exploded with fabulous sweet-sea flavours.
When food is this good you simply have to keep eating. And I must mention that the wine, paired by Head sommelier Csaba Adamy, previously of Aubaine, was sublime and complimented the abundance of flavours beautifully. We devoured a stunning plate of chocolate mousse, which came in three different flavours, rolled up next to each other in two layers, separated by chocolate waifs and an oozy chocolate sauce. Sadly we made the dreadful mistake of sharing, and after a hefty fork battle, we decided we would try the cheese board to make peace, finishing the meal in off in style.
Three courses at The New Angel cost £54 with an extra £12.50 supplement for the joyous cheese
For more information visit thenewangel-nh.co.uk