I was very pleased to recently pay a visit to Bumpkin Notting Hill on Westbourne Park Road – all shiny and new (actually – bright, cheerful and very cosy) after their recent refurbishment – to sample their new menu, which offers up some tasty yet healthy dishes made from seasonal British produce. I’d heard so much about Bumpkin Notting Hill (the first in the group of restaurants, with other locations now in Chelsea and South Kensington) but, rather shamefully, had never made found my way there…until now!
The four-storey Bumpkin Notting Hill has rooms with a different purpose on each floor (with the top two floors now taken up with rooms available for private hire), and it was in the first floor Dining Room that we sampled some of the treats from their rather British à la carte menu. With some rustic-yet-modern furniture, retro prints on the walls, a restored original fireplace at one end and tranquil green decor amongst the floor-to-ceiling windows, the Dining Room is perfect for a relaxed and cosy meal.
On our visit, after we’d happily settled in and spoken to our very friendly waitress, the first point of order was selecting some wine. Bumpkin’s wine list contains a mixture of organic, sustainable and bio-dynamic choices…and if you’re left wondering what a bio-dynamic wine is, their menu does indeed helpfully elaborate. (I won’t spoil the surprise!) There’s a large selection of whites and reds, organised by category – from modern greats to classics, and much more in between; because of the heat of the summer’s evening, we plumped for a crisp, Spanish white, the Verdejo. Although I’m extremely partial to a cocktail or two, I didn’t indulge on this visit but have got my eye on a number of items for next time – including the Cherry Iced Tea mocktail, a combination of cherry juice and Earl Grey Iced Tea.
On to the far more difficult task of choosing our food. I’m normally pretty decisive when choosing from menus, picking the item that leaps out at me instantly. It’s very rare that I’m left struggling to decide – as was the case at Bumpkin – purely because of the range and choice of dishes! I finally plumped for the homemade soup of the day, which was beetroot, and glad I was of my choice – with an supremely rich flavour, and an equally rich and beautiful colour, I wolfed this down rather rapidly. My dining companion’s choice of Portobello mushrooms with Montgomery Cheddar were proclaimed to be very juicy with a not too overpowering cheese filling, and given the way these disappeared without me being able to sample even a tiny morsel, I’m guessing that they were as delicious as my starter was.
Amongst the choices of steak, chicken, fish and pork for mains, I kept coming back to one thing in particular – the smoked baby back ribs in a BBQ cider glaze. (These are also available as a starter, but I thought they were better sampled as a full-sized dish.) Gloriously sticky (which means messy, of course – as all ribs are), the ribs proved easy to tuck in to, and even easier to finish. I undertook my usual rib-eating ritual of starting off with some polite cutting of the meat, before throwing all table manners to one side and instead delighting in chewing the meat off the bone. The BBQ cider glaze gave the ribs a fantastic taste, with just the right level of naughtiness but without any of the processed taste that you sometimes find. I’d also asked for the optional crisp pork belly as part of this dish, which came as four small pieces on the side that were delightfully more-ish. (So thank goodness they just came as four small pieces…)
My dining companion choose the Loch Duart salmon for his main, which appeared as a nice slab of juicy salmon over a salad of beetroot, tomato and fennel, offering a nicely put together taste combination. A extra side of buttered peas and beans was chosen as a side for both of us to share, and these actually worked well as an accompaniment for the delicate salmon meal and even for my main dish.
By this point, we’d filled ourselves up nicely…but there’s always room for some dessert, right? Our lovely waitress recommended the iced dark chocolate and honeycomb slices, with fresh strawberries and a yoghurt dressing; which turned out to be different than what I’d anticipated – but in a good way. I’d expected a (far too) large slab of heavy and gooey chocolate and the odd strawberry on the side. When the dessert appeared it was a couple of light slices of creamy chocolate and honeycomb on a bed of strawberries, with some little flourishes of yoghurt. A fresh summer’s dessert, perfect to round off the night.
Whilst at Bumpkin, I was also able to take a peek at their three private rooms as well – each suitable for either a sit-down dinner or party. (A whole assortment of options are available – it’s best to contact them with your needs as they can surely accommodate most requests and events!) The Carnival Room – so called in a nod to Notting Hill’s most famous event – on the third floor (situated high above bustling streets) is the largest of the three, and looks ideal for a private party, especially with its own bar and sound system. The smaller Queen’s Room (with a large portrait of Her Majesty proudly displayed on one wall) seats 34 for a sumptuous sit-down dinner and has its own private bar as well. For smaller affairs, there’s also the rather fun Clock Room – with its walls adorned with numerous clocks from Portobello Market, and a large, circular table (decorated with a clock face) in the centre. It also has its own TV screen, so it’s ideal for those wanting to host their own private screenings. (Which, this summer, are most likely to be of the sporting variety!) Aside from the first floor dining room, there’s of course also the main ground floor room – the 209 Bar & Grill – which is a more casual, no-bookings eating and drinking venue, and was plenty full the day I visited.
If you’re never been to Bumpkin Notting Hill, a visit is surely long overdue, so do make it down for some tasty offerings from their food and drinks menus. If you have been before, make sure to pop in and see what’s new!