Having a top-quality restaurant arrive in your neighbourhood is always a wonderful surprise. The residents of Notting Hill seem to have stuck some serious luck with the opening of Marianne Lumb’s self-entitled restaurant – Marianne. While relaxed and friendly in person, chef has clearly built on her incredibility varied private and professional chef experience to put-in-place a kitchen (and team) that runs like clockwork.
While the cooking space is only the size of some restaurants’ coldstores, the dining room is equally small, seating a maximum of 14. The delicately lit, calm space is instantly relaxing, dotted with people enjoying exquisite food in a harmonious environment, with the Maître’D delivering an expert yet warm front-of-house service.
And then there’s the food. The meal is kicked-off with a sweet, intense pumpkin velouté decorated with a dainty raviolo, stuffed with a zingy mix of ricotta, sage and a citrus bust of lemon; a lovely marriage of sweetness and acidity.
All of the starters are then fresh to build your appetite. The cèpe and lobster salad is inconceivably good. The luxurious mushrooms, which are a real rarity on UK menus are simply marinated in the highest quality olive oil to bring out their magical flavour and texture. The soft, delicate morsels of lobster actually play second fiddle on this dish, which tells you how good the mushrooms really are.
For mains, the off-menu grouse would convert anyone to become a game lover. A breast so moist, so earthy and yet so refined in taste; it’s something that not many would people would have experienced to this level of perfection. Again, incredible British produce with an unfussy treatment, but one that delivers the through technique and balance of flavour.
If it’s available, your table should order the tart tatin. This humble dessert delivers on all of the things that normally go wrong. The caramelised sugar syrup is deep and there’s plenty of it, the apple is transformed into a divine velvety texture and the delicately of the feuilleté pastry has developed a satisfying crunch. If all this wasn’t enough, the quenelle berry icecream that sits atop offers is the perfect counterpoint to the intense dessert.
Overall, Marianne offers a complete experience from the moment that you walk through the door; the atmosphere, food and service all work together to make you feel very special. Those people in Notting Hill should be feeling pretty pleased with their new addition I’d say.