Head Out West To The Awesome Flat Three, Holland Park

14 Oct 2017

It’s a real pleasure to encounter a menu that successfully tells a tale. Many people (myself included) find great pleasure in losing themselves in the latest blockbuster, or in the company of a favourite novel, or even in the presence of a crisp bottle of rosé. But I think it’s rare to hear the people associate storytelling with what’s on their plates. Flat Three accomplishes this and much more.

Living locally has its perks: the prospect of tub-thumping down Holland Park after a good feed into my comfy bed seemed like the dream evening. I decided to invite my good friend Olive, who, as it happens and completely unbeknownst to me, is a culinary whizz-kid.

But before I digress and meander like the River Thames, I’ll get back to the matter at hand. Inspired by the aesthetics and flavours of Japanese, Korean and Scandi cultures, the brains behind Flat Three, Pavel (Head Chef) and Julianna (Ops. Manager), have curated a zen-like space just off the leafy Holland Park Avenue that oozes elegance and homely vibes.

To kick off our seven-course taster menu (available for Vegetarians too) we elected a delicious Pinot Noir that once aired, carried us through the duration of the night in fine form.

In terms of food, we began with a selection of spelt crackers made from Alexander seed and hijiki seaweed to whet our appetites, which was accompanied by an incredibly nutty sesame oil and soy sauce that would trump Kikkoman’s finest by a country mile.

My nose would grow longer than Pinocchio’s if I were to say I didn’t like scallops, and when cooked perfectly they are one of my most favourite items to devour. The next dish was scallops with sprouted spelt and samphire; there was a subtle smokiness that ravaged my senses but in a very good way, i.e. not in a barbarian pillaging manner. Top marks.

Once the scallops had settled, a dainty celeriac purée and cauliflower crisp dish with pine nut and yuzo oil sashayed its way over to our table, followed by poached seabass, kimchi and fermented cauliflower leaves. Interestingly, fermentation is a common theme that pervades the menu (and Korean cooking in general) but kimchi does not in fact pertain solely to fermented cabbage – for in this instance, the fermented cauliflower leaves were kimchi too.

The star of the show for me was the next dish: duck breast, beetroot purée, beetroot crisps, smoked carrot jus and gooseberry. Some would say a classic and not too adventurous but you know what, there’s nothing wrong with that. I love duck breast and when paired with gooseberry, I don’t think life gets much better.

To finish off, we inhaled a delicious basil infused crumble with milk ice cream and a zingy carrot sorbet, after all, there’s always room for pud.

We both left feeling that we had been on a true sensual journey. It is clear to taste the dedication and thought that has gone into devising this intricate menu – for example, the sesame leaves are grown especially for them and the team often harvest seaweed on the Kentish coast. This attention to detail makes £69 for 7 courses an absolute steal and well worth a visit.

Xander

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