58 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London, Greater London, W11 2AJ www.walmercastlenottinghill.co.uk
The Walmer Castle is a cosy pub in Notting Hill with a new dining menu that marries premium gastro-pub dishes with a selection of small plates Ã¢â‚¬â€œ my favourite way of avoiding food envy.
We ate upstairs where it has its own bar and in a little snug which, paying homage to the nearby Portobello Market, is made up of a selection of old, comfy armchairs alongside dining tables that give it something of an air of an old and comfortable drawing room.
As we were feeling extra hungry, we started with a selection of the small plates to share. The braised brisket cubes with buffalo sauce were deliciously moist. The buffalo sauce had warm background notes and a nice amount of tang to cut through the slow cooked brisket. A great dish.
The Cornish smoked sardines with heritage tomatoes on a toasted bloomer was probably the least enjoyable dish of the day. The heritage tomatoes were more like a puree on the bread than whole tomatoes and the sardines were a tad dry. However, I think this dish only paled in comparison to what came next.
Truffle mac ‘n’ cheese bites. Need I say any more? Technically a side on the menu, we couldn’t wait and went straight for them any way. Deep-fried balls of cheesy mac’n’ cheese, infused with truffle and all served with a creamy mayonnaise. I have to say, if it weren’t for the intense richness of these, I probably would have quite happily carried on ordering them all night long.
Main course was a mint-glazed rump of British lamb served with crushed heritage (will this word ever go away) potatoes and grilled baby leeks in a red wine jus. The lamb was well cooked, slightly pink in the middle while the red wine jus was rich, thick and velvety and coated the lamb well. The crushed potatoes were perfect for absorbing all the leftover jus ensuring nothing went to waste.
Finally, dessert. After all the food we had already enjoyed I wasn’t sure we could manage another morsel. However, when the salted caramel profiteroles, salted caramel ice cream and Devonshire toffee sauce turned up space was suddenly made. The profiteroles were a tad chewy but the salted caramel ice cream was full of sweet and, of course, salty flavour with the toffee sauce topping the whole thing off.
A light and crisp bottle of white Rioja, which rounded off the dinner well, accompanied this.
Overall, a very tasty, filling meal in a warm and inviting pub ideal for visiting with the cooler weather setting in. And, on the night we went there was even a pub quiz Ã¢â‚¬â€œ what could be better?