Date Yourself! @ Kitchen W8
Date Yourself! is a series that embraces and celebrates the joy of enjoying one's own company.
Life is too short to save that dress or restaurant for a hot date (in the non-foreseeable future).
What I say is: book that restaurant; stick that dress on and; go out and have a marvellous time, unaccompanied.
read more inc. "why dine out alone?" at the bottom of this post.
I go out for
a lovely meal, alone
HONESTLY AND OPENLY
(HENCE, THE BILL) → →
inspire/encourage you to date yourseLf too!
HERE, LET ME share with YOU HOW I did it...
!!!! I cannot believe I paid £9.50 for a measure of Sipsmith Gin !!!!
All 8 exclamation marks necessary.
To kick Date Yourself! off with a bang, I thought I’d go all-out: 6-course tasting menu and accompanying wine pairings. Why? Because why ever not! No justification is need when dating yourself. You know what you like, so it's just a matter of doing it.
11-13 ABINGDON ROAD, LONDON W8 6AH
Having been on my to-eat-at list for a few months, as I rarely trek it venture down to Kensington, I thought it was about time check Kitchen W8 out. Coined a "neighbourhood restaurant" [read: amazing quality food, slightly off the beaten track] I knew it'd be right up my street. From reading my post on my time at Pidgin, you'll be well-acquainted with my attraction to such termed restaurants.
It didn't have that buzz that I love, but it was okay.
The space is sort of separated into a few sections. In the section I was in, which was the largest and most central, there were no 'floating' tables, they were all opposite to a booth sort of seat which went around the room in a U-shape around the room.
So, you can opt for a cosy padded seat, or a chair – you pick. Or, if you happen to get a corner table, you can both sit on the comfy seats.
The table I was given was odd and unforgiving for a lone diner. I was quite disappointed, although I took the seat in my stride.
If the section of the room were a massive table, my seat positioned me at the head of it. Yes, I could see everyone and everything going on in the room. And vice versa. Not that I mind at all, but as a lone diner, a little privacy wouldn't go amiss.
Generally though, the vibe was alright. Fellow diners were a mix of ages, many family groups and not that many couples.
I hastily typed some notes on my iPhone in between courses and water top-ups.
(i) Very informative and just the right amount of attentive
I asked many questions about the dishes and they were all answered fully. My plates were taken at just at the right time and they did "the scrapey-scrape" (my terminology for when they scrape your crumbs away) which is a must for me.
From what I gather from my notes...
(ii) My only disappointment with the service was that the staff seemed to touch their hair and faces a lot when walking empty-handed from tables.
This is something I don't even consider or look out for, so it really must've been quite frequent for me to pick up on it.
While I know the waiting staff don't touch the food, it doesn't give a great polished look and it's just not nice.
- If, like me, you have penchant for a good selfie/mirror pic, don't bother attempting it in the ladies. Too much yellow light.
- A strange sight to see was salt and pepper mills on the table(!). I'm not against them in somewhere casual but at a M* place, they're immediately giving me the impression that the chef lacks confidence in their seasoning.
Plus, they weren't even those nice, artistic looking S&P grinders.
I DINED ON A FRIDAY EVENING AT 20:00.
I WAS THE LAST ONE TO LEAVE AT ONLY 22:30!
IN FACT, THE STAFF HAD MY JACKET READY AND WAITING FOR ME!
so, no time for a digestif!
I suppose as I was alone, they could kind of "get away with it". Say I was with another and engrossed in conversation, I don't think I'd have been out the door at 22:30.
What the Menu Meant to Me
Well, as you can see below, quite a lot.
When doing my pre-meal menu read (while sipping my extortionately priced G&T) I was really looking forward to courses Two, Three and Five (and slightly fearing course One's eel).
I have never written as many notes on a menu;
necessarily regard that as being a good thing.
I suppose one factor as to why the menu features more notes is because I was alone (i.e. I had nothing better to do!)
However, other factor as that it is quite vague, but also because there was quite a bit of it that I wasn't 100% keen on.
There wasn't anything I didn't like/hated but I will admit there wasn't anything that wow-ed me.
It was all just pleasantly tasty.
I suppose there isn't any harm in that but I do love a good experiment or "push of the boundaries"
Yes, just good I'm afraid.
There wasn't any wow or intrigue moments that I've had at other place such as Pidgin.
The food was good but not wow-worthy.
ALSO, they don't serve Tanqueray No. 10... not cool.
However, the vibe does suit a 'I need some me-time" mood.
Provided you don't get the table I had and hastily chucked out, it is relatively favourably suited to lone dining.
It's good for a quiet, somewhat informal and casual, (early night) Friday.
YAY'S & NAY'S
The first time I had eaten eel and it was surprisingly delicious. Saying that, I don't know what I was expecting!
I liked it with the mackerel which had a fantastically crispy wafer thin skin that had a sweetness I wasn't expecting.
The wine? Quite boring.
I think this was my fave. The raviolo was perfect and the onion soup was rich and creamy.
The wine on the other hand – I found it so sweet, it reminded me of a subtle version of a Reisling dessert wine.
White with game was interesting; this with the apple made me feel they focussed too much on the pork in the raviolo, rather than the game.
Cod and black truffle: not a combination I'd have thought of. I was a bit apprehensive but it went well, in an odd way. I don't think it'd suit all palates though, especially with the horseradish. My cod was slightly overdone - a bit squishy - but I did leave the table so perhaps it was the heat lamps' doing.
Every time I eat venison I am taken back to the first time I ate it: at a magical wedding aged circa 11 y/o.
I'm not a fan or artichokes but I liked theses ones. I thought the bulgar wheat a bit random and a tad salty.
Loved the (only) red wine though!
Not a fan of soft fruits, so I knew this wouldn't be an interest of mine. I enjoyed it but couldn't taste the thyme. Probably a good thing?
I hadn't eaten chocolate in weeks, so I was looking forward to it. The chocolate was in the form of a ganache. It was all wonderful; however, it was the perfect example of why I never order chocolate desserts: it was so rich. Too rich for me and I have a sweet tooth!
For those of you who don't understand why I'd choose to dine alone, or just don't see the point on why I'd write about it...
Why dine out alone?
- Why not?
- It's fun!
- The best company is your own company!
Essentially, it's selfishness, I want to go to these places and can't be bothered to wait to find someone to accompany me with!
Honestly though, we need to shed the irrational stigma of eating alone.
People who eat out alone aren't always lonely or weirdos. They can be people who just love good food and don't wish to be constrained to having to enjoy it in the company of someone else.
They can be people who love to absorb and observe the buzz of a room, the warmth of the interactions between the people around them.
Yes, I'm one of those people.
I love spending time in my own company; and
I love food and wine.
(learning more about the latter)
So they are what i go out and do!
What makes a good restaurant
for "Date Yourself!"?
My no. 1 buzzword is the vibe. By what I mean by vibe is:
the setting: is has to be relaxing, comfortable and non-stuffy but also with an aspect of *special*
the service: the staff have to be accommodating and willing to spend the time to answer questions, but not over-the-top in an "I-feel-sorry-for-you way"
the food: obviously! it's got to be delicious and slightly daring, carrying on the hint of special
In light of the above,
Suggestions of Restaurants are V. Welcome