"The Shed is genuinely cosy, and dishes are prepared with panache"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
The Ark, an Italian restaurant just off Notting Hill Gate, always stood out with its pretty exterior, particularly at night when it was lit up by twinkly lights. Since October the site has been the home of the Shed, a venture by the three Gladwin brothers, a farmer, a chef and a restaurateur.
Naturally much of the produce comes from the family farm in Nutbourne, West Sussex, as well as from Billingsgate or other British suppliers. Chef Oliver has worked at River Cottage and Launceston Place, while restaurant manager Richard’s credits include Bunga Bunga and Brawn.
The menu has small plates for sharing (mostly priced between £6-£9), and a selection of “mouthfuls”, essentially canapé-sized appetizers which today include pork crackling, sardine rollmops and goat’s cheese with pear jam; we choose to scoff quail’s eggs with celery salt, a perfect savoury apéro.
The “air cured Christmas tenderloin”, cut into bite-size pieces, has lovely hints of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange peel; aged for 2 months, the result is uber-soft meat.
We wonder whether “lamb chips” will look like fries, but instead we’re presented with two long, chunky croquettes filled with shredded lamb, with a crispy exterior seasoned with parsley, served with a sweet yet fiery harissa on the side. The lamby fingers are delightful, and other tables seem to agree as several waitresses walk past balancing three plates of them at a time.
Chorizo with labneh cheese is another clever pairing. The chorizo, smoky, spicy and with a fennel kick, is minced and sprinkled around the plate, while in the centre are three pieces of wafer-thin crisp bread protruding from a large dollop of yoghurty, thick labneh. Crispy, almost caramelised kale completes the dish.
Wild mushrooms on toast are simple and exquisitely flavoured with truffle. Grilled lamb is rosy pink, thinly sliced and served with parsley pesto containing chunks of chestnuts - if there was one criticism of the meal it’s that the pesto’s robust flavour is a little overpowering here.
For dessert, a retro Viennetta is made ever more sinful with a layer of sticky caramel, and the gloopy pear tarte tatin with a dollop of smooth cinnamon ice cream is gorgeous.
The Shed is genuinely cosy; the two rooms that make up the restaurant are almost tunnel-like, narrow and with low ceilings, with hanging plants and farming implements, and a tractor bonnet is suspended over the bar. It’s a remarkable little place, where food is prepared with great panache and originality.
Image by Gladwin Bros
Leila reviewed The Shed Bar & Restaurant on Mon 17 Dec 2012