Evoluzione, Kensington is the real deal. Is Lindsey?

31 Jan 2019

Even after reviewing restaurants for four years I still have imposter syndrome. I’m terrified I’m going to be found out, turned away at the door and accused of not being the ‘real deal’. And, when the place is fancy, not just your local burger joint down the street, it gets even worse.

Places like, for example, Hotel Xenia in Kensington. The fact it’s in Kensington points towards it being more than your average Joe hotel, it’s not just your run of the mill Holiday Inn, there is going to be something special about this place which really gets my anxiety kicking in.

Hotel Xenia is beautiful inside and the Lobby is full of friendly faces, staff helping me with my coat (like any good con man, I was dressed the part) and pointing me in the direction of the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Evoluzione.

If you want peace and quiet then come to Evoluzione on a rainy afternoon in November because you’ll find it, we were the only table in the dining room that afternoon.

The grazing lunch kicked off with an unusual parmesan ice cream. It was cold (obviously) and creamy, balancing on a curl of crispy bread (£4.50). It was an unforgettable dish: strong, punchy and powerful. Then there was the simple bruschetta with tomatoes and oregano (£4.50) which had no business pretending to be anything other than fabulous. The deep fried calamari (£8) was a great dish; little-fried pieces of squid playing dead with drips of caramelized sauce teasing me with the sweet flavour.

The restaurant feels like it’s been covered by an Instagram filter, there is green lighting giving off a ‘tinge’ against purple, silver and cream decor. The velvet chairs, bright wallpaper and fine china give the place that ‘modern twist’ you can’t always put your finger on, but you know it when it’s there.

Executive Chef Andrea Angeletti is an absolute hustler, serving up some great Italian dishes with an edge (I’m not surprised to find out he held a Michelin-Star for 11 years in Italy). The dishes are considered, creative and interesting, not just thrown onto a plate and then into someone’s belly. They’re there to be looked at too.

For round two, it was the Grilled Scallop with celeriac sauce (£8), the bright green homemade tagliolini with gorgonzola and walnuts (£8) and a selection of Italian cheese (£8). Everything about these dishes made me want to devour them, winning me over from the get-go and bamboozling me with their eclectic taste.

I came away feeling absolutely bamboozled by the food in Evoluzione and won over by the peace and quiet. Now, if only I knew a food journalist who could write about this place and get the rest of those tables filled. Hmmm?!

Lindsey

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