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I popped along to the medspa beauty clinic on Notting Hill Gate recently to check out the stylish and serene spa and find out more about the types of treatments they offer.

Located on the first floor of the premises above Calder Pharmacy, you’re immediately transported away from the hustle and bustle of the busy street below and into a soothing and tranquil reception area. Off this space, there’s a number of different treatment rooms, all very well equipped and calmly decorated, with relaxing music piped into each. They are also all very spacious – there’s honestly nothing more annoying in a spa than being shown to a tiny little room with not enough space to swing a cat, let alone relax and get pampered!

medspa

I opted for a one-hour HydraFacial as my treatment, and was looked after the very friendly Alex. The HydraFacial is one of medspa’s signature treatments, involving the use of a machine that helps remove dead skin cells whilst also cleansing and hydrating the new skin, and treating it with serums. Prior to my facial, Alex asked me if I had any specific needs or areas that I was looking to target. I won’t go into the ins and outs of my skin here – but suffice to say, if any of you suffer from that classic problem of an ‘oily t-zone’, I’d highly recommend booking yourself into a HydraFacial pronto!

medspa

After thoroughly cleansing my face, Alex set to work with the HydraFacial machine, using it to go over my face twice to cleanse it. The actual sensation is a bit like a small tube being use to delicately extract impurities and dead skin cells away whilst also hydrating at the same time – you feel ‘water’ being spread over your skin. Alex did mention that I should let her know if I felt uncomfortable at any time; the treatment, however, most definitely wasn’t painful in the slightest, and didn’t even fall under the ‘discomfort’ category. I personally quite enjoyed the sensation, feeling that it was really doing its job well!

medspa

Following a very soothing and cooling face mask – during which I was also given a head massage – the special HydraFacial machine was once again called into action to deliver a moisturising serum.

Verdict? I was rather excited to look in the mirror, post-treatment, to be greeted with wonderfully clear and practically glowing skin. And the real verdict is what others thought – everyone I came into contact with soon after and the next day (which is when Alex said I’d really see the effects of the facial) did indeed confirm that my skin looked much, much brighter and smoother.

As I mentioned, Alex had asked me prior to my treatment whether I had any particular concerns about my skin that I’d like her to address. medspa do pride themselves on making sure that their facials (and many of their other treatments) target their customer’s particular requirements – whether you’re looking to freshen up your skin, target wrinkles, address dryness or tackle acne or problem pores, there’s definitely something for you at medspa.

medspa

They arealso a one-stop shop for all other kinds of beautification too, with body treatments (including a body wrap treatment or lymphatic drainage), massage options (classic, deep tissue, hot stone amongst the choices on the menu), manis and pedis, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, plus waxing and the soprano pain free hair treatment available to ensure that you’re pampered and made over from top to toe!

medspa couldn’t be better located in Notting Hill, but the clinic is a world away from the busy area in which it’s located – I’d highly recommend that you book yourself in for a pampering treatment at this excellent clinic!

medspa beauty clinic
55 – 57 Notting Hill Gate
W11 3JS
www.medspabeautyclinic.co.uk
020 7034 0156

Disclaimer: medspa invited me to visit their spa and I received the treatment for free. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions shown above are entirely my own.

I was very pleased to be able to try out Notting Hill Kitchen earlier this week – the Spanish/Portuguese restaurant that is home to an equally smart tapas and cocktail bar too – for some delicious Iberian cuisine.

Notting Hill Kitchen

Notting Hill Kitchen

Housed in a rather impressive building (once upon a time converted from three Edwardian townhouses, no less) on Kensington Park Road just south of Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill Kitchen is a very welcoming space, something that’s matched by the attentiveness and friendly nature of the staff. It’s the restaurant’s bar area that you come to first upon entering, somewhere where you can perch up on the stools around the bar or by the high tables to settle in for a night of cocktails and tapas. And that’s how we started our night!

Sampling some of the most popular choices from the tapas menu – the spider crab, mini lamb burger and the ham and sour dough – I also chose the Black Cherry Cocktail as an accompaniment for the full tapas ‘n’ drinks experience; I was rewarded with an expertly made cocktail that went perfectly with our tapas.

Notting Hill Kitchen
Spider crab

All the tapas options are presented on rather smart black slates, making eating here a rather sleek affair! First to arrive was the spider crab in brioche buns which, with their rather round shape, were almost reminiscent of whoopee pies in presentation. Succulent chilled crab sandwiched in-between soft rolls – were this not tapas, I could have happily eaten more of these. In fact, it was only out of politeness that I stopped myself from devouring these whole, instead slicing them up politely. Next to arrive was the mac abrito (lamb mini-burger) which came as a decently sized burger patty with toppings of cucumber and coriander, complementing it well. Finally, we rounded things off with the tiborna, thin slices of ham draped over a half moon shape toasted sourdough slice, with bone marrow and a drizzle of truffle oil.  In many ways, this felt like the most authentic tapas option we tried – I could imagine eating this perched at some seaside bar in Spain having a cold cerveza and watching the world go by.

Notting Hill Kitchen
Tiborna
Notting Hill Kitchen
Mac abrito and tiborna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then moved on to sit in the restaurant proper, which we had already snuck a few glances at from our position in the bar. Although you can see the expansive space from outside, it’s still a surprise to see quite how large the restaurant area is once you enter. With muted greens, little decorative touches in and around the tables  and plenty of wood detail throughout, it’s a relaxed but joyful setting for a meal.

Having already enjoyed the tapas a little too much, we skipped starters and went straight for mains. (Tapas options are also available as a starter in the restaurant proper.) I opted for the bacalhau com caldeirada – slow cooked cod – whilst my dining partner chose the mano a mano, confit pork cheek and ox tail, which was wonderfully presented with large roasted red onion slices and parsnip crisps. Pleasingly – unlike so many other places these days – mains do come with a decent side offering on the plate too, although there is of course a small selection of proper side dishes available as well.

Notting Hill Kitchen
Mano a mano
Notting Hill Kitchen
Bacalhau com caldeirada

My cod was wonderfully tender and fell apart easily when eating, its slow cooked nature really apparent. Caldeirada is a Portuguese fish stew, so the cod was set in a kind of broth that provided a delicate hint of the traditional dish. The side of kale – in sheep butter – was a welcoming ‘green’ on the plate and worked well with fish; rounding things off was the potato puree, presented in its own little pot, which helped soak up the juices and gave the whole dish a hearty and comforting impression. My choice of wine – a glass of crisp Portuguese Azeo wine – turned out to be a very fine tipple to have alongside this main.

Dessert? How could we could refuse? (In actual fact, we did have to be persuaded – but only because we were happily full by this point!) I had to ask what the pastel de nata was – it turns out that this is the traditional Portuguese egg tart, perhaps most commonly presented in a flaky pastry cup. By pure coincidence, I had picked one up at a Portuguese-run cafe in North London the day before (and thoroughly enjoyed it!); the thought of trying Notting Hill Kitchen’s deconstructed version was too tempting to not choose this dessert! This version was like a custard slice with a small delicate piece of pastry in the middle, and came with the usual pastel de nata accompaniment of cinnamon, here in ice-cream form, along with a few select choices of fruit. A reasonably light but oh-so-tasty choice to round up a very delicious meal.

Notting Hill Kitchen
Pastel de nata

All in all, a very enjoyable evening in a supremely sleek and comfortable setting in Notting Hill. I’d certainly recommend Notting Hill Kitchen as a option for dinner in W11, or for cocktails and tapas in their stylish bar. They also have a very tempting set lunch menu, and I can certainly imagine a weekend brunch here would be fantastic!

Notting Hill Kitchen
92 Kensington Park Road
W11 2PN
www.nottinghillkitchen.co.uk

Disclaimer: The Guide to Notting Hill was invited to dine at Notting Hill Kitchen, but was not required to write a positive review. We thank Notting Hill Kitchen for their kind invitation!

I was rather excited to attend my very first supper club (or pop up restaurant!) on Wednesday night  – one that’s soon to be taking place on our doorstep for its next instalment!

A Grub Club event, the wonderful Fab Cuisine is run by French chef Fabrice Meier with fellow foodies Antonia and Katrina. Originally from Switzerland, Fabrice has previously worked in many fine London establishments, including One-O-One in Knightsbridge, and worked his up to be head chef in a venue in Chelsea.

On this particular occasion, we were hosted at the Social Pantry cafe in Clapham. Typically of a Grub Club event, this cafe is open during the day only – meaning it’s the perfect “unused” venue for an evening supper club. And it hosted Fab Cuisine very well, seating 28 of us (the event was sold out – of course) across three large tables.

As with many Grub Club events, Fab Cuisine was a BYOB affair. We were emailed prior to the event with a few recommendations for wine – both red and white – that would go together with the particular courses, as well as a sweet wine that paired well with the dessert. Being slightly time-short, I wasn’t quite able to source them (although I imagine those that did were rewarded, palate-wise!) although I had taken inspiration from the recommendations to bring along a Pinot Noir. Of course, there weren’t any restrictions in what you could bring, and I did notice someone with a posh pack of beers too.

After a welcoming glass of prosecco (although when isn’t prosecco welcoming?) we took our seats and were encouraged to get to know our neighbours, as these supper club and Grub Club events are especially social. The one thing that did strike me was the number of larger groups that were in attendance – and by that I mean that there quite a few groups of four, five or even six friends. Clearly, it’s a great place to socialise with those that you don’t know, but also those that you do! Some of those I talked to had also been to previous Fab Cuisine events too – so it seems to be the kind of evening that draws in repeat guests. (I can certainly see why!)

On to the food – that’s why we went, right? And with four courses and a palate cleanser, I had better start talking about the meal! After a very nice introduction from chef Fabrice, we started things off with a Jerusalem artichoke soup with crisps. The smooth flavour of the soup and the delicate few crisps bobbing in it proved to be an enticing light opener that left us eager to try the next course. Squid ink risotto is one of my favourite dishes; this may well the first time I’ve tasted this dish where it didn’t have – pleasingly – an overpowering fishy taste in the slightest. The slab of seared squid lain on top was equally fish-taste-free, and its slightly spongy texture worked supremely well with the delicate risotto rice. The gremolata topping turned out to be a mixed herb and garlic type of condiment (not what any in our near vicinity had guessed at!) which gave the whole plate an extra little kick.

Fab Cuisine
Jerusalem artichoke soup
Fab Cuisine
Ink squid risotto with seared squid and gremolata

On to the main draw – one that I’m sure no one could possibly resist having previously read the menu online! The main course of “pork three ways” saw us being served pork belly and braised pig’s cheek – both slow cooked for 18 hours – alongside a black pudding croquette; side additions included celeriac cream, small chunks of pickled Granny Smith apple, and a long stick of pork crackling, as well as boiled potatoes. One word on this dish – DIVINE. The pig’s cheek and the pork belly both fell apart on cutting and were near melt-in-the-mouth, whilst the croquette was a nice third alternative; as someone that’s a black pudding fan, it was a rather fun and unusual way to have this. The light celeriac cream provided some moistness to the whole dish, whilst the boiled potatoes (bowls of which were distributed between us) were kept suitably simple, as to not overpower the pork delights.

Fab Cuisine
The amazing pork three ways!

By this point we were all rather stuffed – but who can say no to pudding? Preceding that was a welcome Sipsmith Gin granita, served in adorably cute mini kilner jars (the ones with a pop up lid) – with just a hint of gin and small pieces of frozen cucumber, this really was a fun little gin and tonic!

Fab Cuisine
Sipsmith Gin granita
Fab Cuisine
Rhubard triangle crumble and custard

Dessert was a kind of deconstructed rhubarb crumble and custard – soft and hearty pink pieces of rhubarb mixed in with small rocks of crumble, topped with a fizzing custard that we were offered second helpings of from a squirt-y canister! A lovingly warm and satisfying way to round off the meal – before a cheeky offering of bright red, rhubarb and port jelly; a welcome “can’t turn this down” finale!

Overall, Fab Cuisine turned out to be a fantastically fun and social night with some truly fabulous food. Each course was distinct and overall the whole menu provided an assortment of flavours and dish ideas that came together well (be prepared to be truly full by the end!) At the start, Chef Fabrice had explained that this was the last of his winter menus – each event’s menu is seasonal – with the next outing (on 1st May) the start of spring dishes and ingredients. Fab Cuisine is a great way of sampling Fabrice’s culinary creations and finding out more about his background as a chef at top London venues.

Trying the whole Grub Club concept was also very enjoyable. It’s a little like attending a secret club – in fact, a secret foodie club (probably the best kind) – with a bit of an element of surprise in terms of venue, food and ingredients, and fellow guests.

I’d certainly highly recommend trying out one of the Grub Club evenings – and I can’t recommend Fab Cuisine highly enough! To find out more on Fab Cuisine and to keep tabs on the next event on 1st May at Maida Hill Place, please see the Fab Cuisine page on the Grub Club site: grubclub.com/fab-cuisine.

The Guide to Notting Hill recently heard about an intriguing new service – one that’s sure to delight all those of you out there that frequently get a hankering for a burger…but just can’t quite manage to get yourselves out on these cold (and wet) winter nights. (We won’t judge. We’re the same.)

The Flying Burger Company have very recently launched, offering home delivery of burgers, sides, desserts and even drinks to the residents of Notting Hill and a few other nearby areas besides. We recently gave the service a whirl to see what it was all about.

The first thing you notice about a Flying Burger Company delivery – beyond the excessively polite deliveryman – is the packaging. It’s equal parts cute, equal parts fun…and almost too good to open! (I say almost…there are burgers in here, after all.) Everything’s nicely arranged in neat little white boxes with stickers denoting the contents – nothing scribbled with a marker pen here – and divided into two bags of hot and cold items.

The Flying Burger CompanyThe Flying Burger Company

I had opted to try the ‘Wide Blue Yonder’ burger which, as the name suggests, is a blue cheese special. Alongside this fries – of course! – and corn fritters as sides, plus the house sauce as an accompanying extra condiment and Harry Combs Hailstones as dessert.

All of Flying Burger Company’s beef burgers contain patties made from 100% grass-fed Aberdeen Angus beef that has been aged for at least 28 days and set in soft and tasty brioche buns. All the beef burgers (there’s also chicken and veggie options) also come with two (count ’em) patties which at first sounds a little excessive and greedy but works out supremely well when you discover that each patty comes relatively thin; you’re getting the juiciness of two beef patties but without having to demolish any monster of a burger that only some food-contest-winning glutton would be able to manage. The blue cheese topping complemented my burger well but didn’t overpower it in the slightest – this would be a great option for those who don’t like their cheese too strong. It also satisfying oozed out the sides when eating, in a messy yet “I’ve done a good job eating my burger” way.

The Flying Burger Company
Unwrapping the contents…okay, yes, I *had* already helped myself to some fries and fritters by this point

The skin-on fries come as a very generously-sized portion, and would easily work for two to share. Well, aside from the fact that they’re ridiculously more-ish, so it turns out to be a case of “he who snoozes, loses” when it comes to sharing these little gems. The corn fritters were unusual but worked very well – small balls that had a crunchy exterior but were soft on the inside, with full pieces of corn. The fritters came with their own tzatziki dip which was a smooth and cooling addition – even after I’d already smothered everything on my plate with the amazing FBC House sauce.

The Flying Burger Company
Hmmm…fries…

Oh and, what are the Harry Combs Hailstones (my dessert choice), you may wonder? They’re small buttons of chocolate – of all different sizes – each with a honeycomb filling. I’d say they’re a great ‘light’ dessert option, meaning you can munch on a few after your filling burger and save some for later. Or, I could say that, if the actual reality hadn’t been that I had to plead with someone to take them off me before I consumed them all…

I personally don’t know of any other burger home delivery services of such a good quality, so I’m very pleased by the Flying Burger Company and their options! Their burgers are on par (if not better) than any of the ‘posh’ high street burger options, and you can’t beat the convenience of getting hot burgers and sides delivered straight to your door.

Give them a go today!

Flying Burger Company currently deliver to the postcodes of W6 7, W11 1, W11 2, W11 3, W11 4, W12 8, W14 0 and W14 8, Mondays to Sundays, 6pm to 11pm.

For more on Flying Burger Company and their menu, or to place an order, please see www.flyingburger.co.

Disclaimer: The Guide to Notting Hill was provided with a free meal from The Flying Burger Company, but was not required to give a positive review.