Town House Plates Up Decadent Decor And Nice Nosh
Located in the luxurious Kensington Hotel, the newly refurbished Town House restaurant is an intimate and opulent dining space — soft grey panelling, plush cocktail chairs, towering bookshelves with scant book displays and patterned rugs. An English townhouse comes to mind. And yet, there is no pretentiousness about the menu; no need to swipe a dictionary from the adjacent bookshelf to translate your starter.
Our appetiser is a selection of breads: Guinness brown bread, sourdough and focaccia. Despite its name, the Guinness bread lacks that striking savour of the Irish stout. If anything, it tastes sweetened. The sourdough is similarly nondescript. As for the focaccia, it's slightly stale.
Fortunately, our starters fair better. We begin with the aubergine moutabal. Served with a side of soft pita and topped with juicy pomegranate seeds, it is smooth and creamy. It’s so delicious we even resort to the leftover bread, once the pita has vanished. We also try the ham hock terrine. Tasty, though we are not overly excited by the texture.
For our main course we order the mushroom risotto and the steak tagliata. The risotto is topped with “crispy” kale, which is an accurate description; the kale is borderline singed. In contrast, the risotto is creamy in texture, but muted in taste. A healthy dose of pepper is needed to lift the dish. That said, the mushrooms are cooked beautifully; the perfect middle ground between succulent and chewy.
The steak tagliata is served with crispy onion rings, rocket and parmesan. We ask for medium rare, but find the steak to be somewhat leathery. Fortunately, the peppercorn sauce is a triumph, masking any disappointment with the meat. The side of hand-cut chips are divine and we quickly polish them off.
For dessert, we order the cheeseboard, and the apple and pear crumble. The cheeseboard comes with a selection of three cheeses: a blue, a brie and a smoked cheese. It’s a generous board, in contrast to many restaurants we have eaten in.
The crumble is equally bountiful. And when we say the crumble, we mean the crumble. The fruit is hard to come by, submerged beneath a seemingly never-ending blanket of biscuit. Hunting for apple and pear is a frustrating exercise.
We leave feeling satiated, yet slightly underwhelmed. Perhaps we set ourselves up for disappointment, equating an imposing setting with an exceptional meal. A very respectable meal is more appropriate.
Town House, 109-113 Queen's Gate, Kensington, SW7 5LR
Last Updated 02 March 2018