The Elgin in Notting Hill
Notting Hill is irritatingly picturesque. The bustling markets of Portobello, the pastel-fronted houses, and the wisteria-vined little mews that seem to make up 90% of West London’s Instagram presence: It’s an area that does everything with such effortless beauty that even the most cynical can’t help but be a little charmed.
The Elgin, a gastropub perched halfway down Ladbroke Grove, is exactly what you’d expect. Slate grey, furnished with dark wood, bold colours and luxurious fabrics, it’s the kind of pub that you can easily lose an afternoon in. Maybe two if you happen upon the gin bar perched behind the beautiful stained glass. The restaurant is full of plush armchairs, beautifully upholstered and bathed in early evening sunlight. In terms of atmosphere, it’s hard to beat.
Ox Cheek Croquettes get us off to a good start. Satisfyingly substantial, their rich filling packs a real meaty wallop. That’s offset by the crunch of golden, fried breadcrumbs and accompanied by an unusual twist. A bed of what are essentially mushy peas is not what we would normally associate with croquettes. They’re pleasing enough on their own, but the combination feels mismatched. Were these ham croquettes, then it would be a match made in heaven.
A luscious pork ribeye is both generously portioned and well cooked. Creamy potatoes provide some much-needed heft, and a tangle of zingy red cabbage and apple slaw keeps the whole thing surprisingly light. Mixed buttered beans are a great side to have with this dish, perfectly combining the fresh flavours of summer with a little indulgence.
Brie tart is enjoyable. Fatty, pungent cheese intermingling with the zing of fruit is a classic combination for a reason and it works well here. Less impressive is the roasted cabbage served on the side, which is disappointing in both idea and execution. It’s an unwieldy thing, cooked almost dry on the outside but not quite done towards the centre. Shredded and cooked more simply, it could have been a great accompaniment to the oozing cheese.
We finish with Marble Cake and Panna Cotta with Macerated Raspberries and Pistachio Brittle. The cake is nice enough, fluffy with a good, moist crumb. The panna cotta is simple but very well done. Perfectly set, it yields to the spoon with the slightest of milky wobbles. The raspberries add some much-needed acidity and the pistachio flavour is subtle but substantial. It’s a remarkably good dessert for this level of cooking.
It’s all washed down with a solid bottle of Featherdrop Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Bright, crisp, full of grapefruit and gooseberry notes, it’s a good pairing with all of our courses but it’s especially good with this gooey panna cotta.
With a great atmosphere and solid food, The Elgin is definitely worth a visit.★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Daniel Masters (except featured)
To book a table at The Elgin, 96 Ladbroke Grove London W11 1PY, call 020 7229 5663 or visit their website here.