Bumpkin in Notting Hill
On the corner of a leafy street close to Portobello Road rests Bumpkin, a casual restaurant renowned for hearty meals and fresh ingredients. Launched in 2006, it impressed diners with its honest, unpretentious food and has since evolved into a chain with additional sites at Chelsea, South Kensington and Westfield. Each venue has its own style but the original, West London Bumpkin has once again cemented its trendsetter status with a Bohemian themed re-launch. This is, after all, Notting Hill – staying in vogue is obligatory.
The lower half of the four-storey venue is decked with leather sofas, neutral wallpaper and wooden furnishings, creating a cosy environment finished with framed mirrors, chandeliers and retro paintings. The upper floors have equal charm, with stylish private hire rooms and a carnival-inspired attic which is adorned with decorated masks and upside-down umbrellas.
The drinks menu is outstanding, offering ethically sourced organic wines alongside unforgettable cocktails including the gin-based Lemon Collins – a zesty, foam-topped thirst quencher with a delightful, old-fashioned lemonade flavour. Fennel & Apple Bumpkin Martini, made with homemade fennel-infused vodka and liquorice, works well with pork dishes, while Cherry Blossom, a liqueur and Cognac based concoction, is an aromatic finale after dessert. The barman was happy to accommodate special requests and kindly veered off-menu to make a refreshing Caipirinha bursting with rum and lime.
Food portions are generous and starters of Portobello Mushrooms with Montgomery Cheddar and Summer Baby Vegetables Lightly Fried in a Sparkling Water Batter were both impossible to finish. The earthy mushrooms were nicely balanced by the rich cheese and the crouton texture of the accompanying artisan bread added crunch. The tempura dish was far more subtle, with lightly battered courgette strips and cauliflower florets serving as a vehicle for a piquant tomato sauce.
Seated on the ground floor, where charcoal oven “Bertha” cooks and smokes meats sourced from reputable British farms, we opted for mains of Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak and Smoked Baby Backed Ribs in a BBQ Cider Glaze with added crispy pork belly. The tender steak had a buttery taste, complemented by sweet roasted tomatoes, salty bone marrow and a thick, tarragon-infused béarnaise sauce. The ribs were as expected, falling-off-the-bone and smothered in a sticky, sweet marinade with an acidic kick, but both dishes were served with disappointingly soggy skin-on chips.
Desserts proved to be innovative and delicious; the sweetness of Fresh Grilled English Strawberries, with boulders of fluffy marshmallow, worked well with a sour yogurt dip and a dusting of fizzy strawberry powder. Iced Dark Chocolate Honeycomb Slices were fudgy and dense but hidden pockets of brittle honeycomb and sharp, yogurt-drizzled strawberries cut the richness.
With its good food and comfortable vibes, Bumpkin’s new look and menu will keep trendy local residents more than happy. It’s also worth the trip from further afield to sample the fresh seasonal produce and flawless cocktails without the stuffy atmosphere of countless other London hotspots.
Photos: Monika Jensen
To book a table at Bumpkin, 209 Westbourne Park Road, London, W11 1EA, call 020 7243 9818 or visit here.