Two's company. A few words on food, drink and little adventures! @atablefortwoLDN
Amongst wildlife and the weekend jogger the western reach of the Grand Union canal (and pub) harbours a restaurant which could happily challenge those in the West End and definitely blow the socks off East End trendies. Built upon the success of head chef Stevie Parle’s pop up restaurants and cookbooks, the Dock Kitchen sits atop designer Tom Dixon’s sleek showroom, overlooking an enclave of the ex-industrial canal.
From the iron gate bearing the restaurant’s name, to the sleek and refined interior, The Dock Kitchen heightens expectations even before being handed the menu. The waterside reflections paired with perfectly polished tables, exposed brickwork and a large summer terrace, gives it a rather nice placid atmosphere all year round. Deciding to explore the other side of our neighbourhood and having heard that dinner is a no go without a reservation, we decided to come in for an early lunch and were pleasantly surprised.
No reservation, no problem. With no breakfast service, 12pm on a Saturday meant the restaurant was still empty and we were able to sit at a window side table for two. The service was attentive and well-seasoned, any questions on the menu were dealt with great execution and just as well you may need access to Wikipedia to understand the menu otherwise.
The menu itself is experimental, seasonal and original. Whilst recipes root from Parle’s cookery books, the ingredients used certainly aren’t those you would usually find in your cupboard and the local produced used is homogenised into Dock Kitchen’s around the world menu. Whatever you choose you won’t be disappointed and the ever changing menu means you’ll be hard pushed to order the same thing twice.
Not quite hungry enough to dig into mains, we ordered a selection of starters which were still big enough to feed our appetite. We opted for tempura battered mussels with chopped salad and pine nut tarator and labneh with grey mullet roe bottarga, pickled celery and a lavash bread. All dishes were a pleasure both to look at and taste, vibrant colours combined with subtle flavours on both plates definitely made our taste buds dance. The mussels, lightly battered and served on a skewer were perfectly meddled with a zingy salad and smooth nutty sauce which perfectly depicted each other’s flavours. The labneh with grey mullet roe bottarga equally hit the spot and perfect for sharing through its paste-like consistency paired with the unusual pickled celery for added crunch.
Being an early afternoon we imbibed ourselves with Bloody Marys, which although very flavoursome, slightly overkilled on the spice. Price wise,The Dock Kitchen certainly has no reservations on how much to charge, although the dishes were indeed very good it’s a little pricey for a light-lunch, with the small dishes hitting the £8-£10 mark and the larger dishes exceeding that. Dinner is always a set menu (around £45 for four courses) inspired around a different chef or cuisine and bookings must be made.
With everything else mentioned, the devil is definitely in the detail at Dock Kitchen. From the decor to the Japanese charcoal infused tap water on your table, the restaurant seeks to deliver as much of an experience as it does a meal. As far as we’re concerned everything sits in great harmony and it is definitely one to keep in mind whether you are after a gastronomic debauchery or reminiscing flavours from your travels. If your taste buds or pocket can’t handle the adventure, you can always drop in for a cocktail at the downstairs Kitchenette Bar open Fridays and Saturdays only.
Busy all the time, we can imagine this place being even more of a hit in the summer particularly with their super hip Innocent drinks HQ neighbours just across the pond, so if you feel like giving this West London joint a try make sure you ring up to book first. A word of warning though, it seems to be a favourite of the pram wielding demographic of the area so best book a weeknight if you want some peace and quiet.
342–344 Ladbroke Grove
Kensal Road W10 5BU
0208 962 1610