Hereford Road // Notting Hill // London

When we say bistro, we define a simple place, with simple food served with “love”…..and this is exactly what Hereford Road is attempting to deliver in Notting Hill, with its white and elegant dining room.

The problem is, is that despite an interesting and long menu, the dishes don’t live-up to the image of the restaurant itself. Even if there is an attempt to innovate some bistro classics, Hereford Road’s menu is not inspiring and certainly is not challenging.

Bib Gourmand awarded restaurants are chosen because they offer something special for a very reasonable price. Unfortunately, Hereford Road doesn’t have that special touch, so you would be unlikely to want to pay more for what it serves-up.

A simple artichoke is presented al dente, rather than the usual ‘overcooked’ style, which allows you to strip all the flesh from the leaves easily. Something else that is different is that there is no offer to prepare the artichoke heart for you once you have stripped the vegetable of its leaves. Normally in a bistro, a waiter or chef will do this for you; like at The Giaconda Dining Rooms.

Main meals lack the same attention to detail. The poor lemon sole, while being a perfectly fresh fish is subject a dreadful over cooking. As a result, the flesh is not as soft as it should be. The roasted cauliflower and crumbs are a bit of an odd accompaniment too, as the two dry elements don’t really work together. The pork belly is a generous portion though the flavour of the meat is a bit ho-hum and the crackling requires a jack hammer to break it apart. Even if this was a great piece of meat when it left the farm, the way it has been cooked makes it difficult for you to taste the quality.

The only highlight of the meal may come with the higher quality of the desserts. Not that there is an overwhelming selection, but there is certainly more attention to detail. The berry sherry trifle is good, as is the Eaton mess; though nothing revolutionary.

Hereford Road seems to satisfy the young population living around the west of London looking for a lively, attractive restaurant serving no-fuss food. Though rather than eating there, we’d suggest that they should head to Hoxton and book at table at Beagle, which really knows how to provide well-priced inventive cooking. Hereford Road isn’t bad, it just doesn’t stand-out in the fiercely competitive London bistro business.

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