So my stay in NW6 was rather brief, three months is all! And, what with one thing and another, for almost half of that time, I swear I was back at the family home in North London. Still, time spent away was time very well spent.
I took the day off on Friday and once I’d got through the few things that I had to do (a three hour appointment at the dental hospital being the main thing) I decided to stroll westward again. I had it in my mind to try out the test kitchen at Books for Cooks but by the time I got there (I got waylaid just mooching along, window shopping, hovering for a time outside Daylesford Organic, wondering if I should instead eat there, popping across the road to Oxfam where I bought a book about looking after your money (tee hee..that cost £4), heading back over to Daylesford and then finally deciding that I ought to check out Books for Cooks) the test kitchen had long since sold out. Ah well, it’s not like I hadn’t immediately previously been enjoying myself.
Nevertheless, my tummy was rumbling and the thought of food could not be shaken. On the way down I’d had a look at Bumpkin’s menu which didn’t look quite like what I was after but did look perfectly reasonable, so with the tiniest of detours (to pick up an afternoon treat – see below) I started back towards Bumpkin, and the flat.
Of course I was by now completely on the tail end of lunch, the upside of which was that I only had to share the ground floor restaurant with a couple of other tables. Service was swift and friendly and I ordered a starter portion of smoked baby back ribs in a sticky bbq glaze along with skin-on chips and a side salad (which was off menu, they made one up for me specially). The ribs were finger licking good, the chips were delicious and the salad, with the addition of cucumber slices pickled in dill infused vinegar, was perfect.
A really cute way to serve some very good chips (grammar police, please don’t come scolding).
Ottolenghi lemon and mascarpone tart
Oh how I love this – put simply, it’s one of the most delicious lemon tarts that I have ever tasted. I think they must use semolina in the pastry because there’s a beautiful bite and crunch to it, you can almost feel the grains between your teeth, and the mascarpone adds a rich smoothness which mellows the tartness of the lemon just the right amount.
For my final night in NW6, I met up with a few girlfriends at The Oak which I’d first heard about on The Londoner’s blog and then had stumbled upon on my first recce of the area. I was a little late, sorry H, K, C, and B! My dad had loads that he needed me to do for him during the day and I find it really hard to say no to him, I just couldn’t get away early enough. We met in the bar upstairs, which is gorgeous – all high ceilings and low seating, it feels like the kind of place to just lounge with a thin cigar in one hand (by the way I don’t smoke) and a glass of something or other in the other. There’s a cute room off the main bar area that on Saturday, was set up for a dinner. Had I got there earlier I would have enjoyed tasting one or two of their delicious cocktails but as it was, I just went for my favourite du jour, a Campari spritz.
I was a little disappointed when we got called down to our table as I’d have happily whiled away the time in the upstairs bar but those of us that weren’t late were more than ready for food.
We are pizza family, I got all ma sisters and me. Actually, the only sisters here are K and B.
K didn’t fancy pizza and instead ordered the rabbit ragu which was so intensely flavoursome.
We chatted about a myriad of things whilst munching on our food and enjoying the feel of the place (I am always a sucker for places where the staff speak Italian to each other, I think it makes me feel as though I too am Italian).
It wasn’t a late night as B needed to get back for the babysitter and I was the only West based one among us. But it was lovely to get out and just sit and chat, though we’ve vowed that next time there’ll be dancing.
Oooo yum. Mozarella, Tuscan sausage, GORGONZOLA (so yummy), caramelised radicchio – the Golosa.