While Clare Smyth has “carved her own distinctive path” since leaving the three-Michelin-starred world of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, she has also opened a third Michelin-starred restaurant, to to the joy of readers who have fallen head over heels in love with her new enterprise.
Cor-blimey wonderful rather than a tough, haute-cuisine agony, Core has the kind of high-end decor that covetous Notting Hillbillies dream about — think tiny handbag stools, feather-light Zalto glassware, and Bridget Riley artworks, to name a few highlights. Unclothed tables, on the other hand, signal that we’ve arrived in casual-luxe land, and the “gracious” employees go above and beyond to make the whole experience extra memorable.
Even if the setting is beautiful in its own right, everyone is here for the cuisine — and for good reason. The ‘potato and roe’ (a dish of skin-on charlotte potato topped with herring and trout roe sitting in a slick of seaweed beurre blanc) is a popular choice among readers, while the whole carrot topped with braised lamb and served with a dollop of sheep’s milk yoghurt has earned signature status for us. These are “smile-inducing” recipes that make the most of the most basic of ingredients to produce absolutely incredible flavors.
Other highlights include a sweet Colchester crab doughnut served with a glass of crab consommé, an even sweeter Roscoff onion packed with luscious oxtail served with beef short-rib, and a plethora of snacks such as crispy smoked duck wings and jellied eel misted with a malt vinegar spray.
After that, there come the delectable desserts, which include masterfully reinvented versions of classics such as cherry Bakewell and warm chocolate tart, among others. Put another way, this restaurant is the “ultimate expression of smart, sophisticated, and technically excellent food.”
The “fantastic” French-led wine list is a true head-turner, with lots of great sipping available for around £50. You can also dine in the attractive bar, which is a cocktail destination in its own right, and have a drink in the elegant dining room. The future of Core is unquestionably bright, and its many admirers are in agreement: “One of the nicest nights we’ve ever had in a restaurant.” “Excellent, understated quality throughout the whole process.”
Cuisine Type: Modern British
‘Potato and roe’ – dulse beurre blanc, herring and trout roe
‘Beef and oyster’ – Highland Wagyu beef and Porthilly oysters
‘Core-teser’ – chocolate, malt and hazelnut
Address: 92 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 2PN, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 20 3937 5086
Website: CORE by Clare Smyth Official Site
Hours: Closed: Sunday, Monday, lunch : Tuesday-Wednesday
Michelin Stars: 3