The Shed Restaurant

Every now and then it seems like nothing nice has happened to you for ages. Then it does. It doesn't have to be anything huge but you have to enjoy it while you can and it's impossible not to enjoy yourself at The Shed Restaurant in Notting Hill. Not only is the food delicious (we'll get to that later) but the atmosphere is fun, the layout unusual and the whole experience is pretty special - writing this over a week later and I'm still wishing I was there.

The restaurant is run by two brothers who grew up on a farm in Sussex, eating the produce of the farm and foraging. A third (youngest) brother remains in Sussex farming and supplies a lot of the food that you will eat there - these boys really care about where the food comes from and this care translates through to the menu and the cooking.

I was taken by my oldest friend who thought I needed a treat and we nearly couldn't go - the earliest table we could book (admittedly it was on the day) was 9.30 but she deemed it worth the wait and she was absolutely right. The food was so good that we overate and both had indigestion in the middle of the night but as I fell asleep propped upright on my pillows I thought it was worth every single Gaviscon.

The restaurant itself is pretty small - this isn't a problem, in fact it is one of the reasons it's so nice, but it does mean that, unless you are a smoker, it may be better to pop to the pub down the road for a drink if you are early. If you are a smoker there is a lovely little smoking area out at the front with tractor seats (comfy) to sit on and blankets and heating lights to keep you warm. I have given up but was with two smokers and we sat out there happily for an hour after supper pretty snug.

Now I'm not going to pretend to be a wine connoisseur. We had the Shed Red (the House wine) and it was lovely - lovely enough for two bottles to disappear without us noticing. The drinks list is impressive in itself and I have it on good authority that their Gin and Tonic's are the best in London.

Now to the food. I think the food was really special and they've been incredibly clever with the menu. There really is something for everyone and because it's basically English tapas you can order what you fancy and it doesn't matter if someone at your table orders something not quite to your taste and it doesn't matter because everything is incredibly reasonably priced so you can try a lot of different things - yes you can't resist ordering a lot but I don't know anywhere else where you pay £2 for a lovely basket of sourdough.

Instead of starters there are 'mouthfuls' - literally that but what mouthfuls and only £1.50. We had a Nutbourne pork scratching with apple sauce each and then I had Mushroom Marmite Confit Duck Yolk (unbelievably delicious - worth trying) and my friend had Endive, Goats Cheese and Pear Jam (which she deemed unexciting but it's her own fault I mean endive... honestly). Without doubt the best bit of pig fat I have ever eaten and I would probably request it as my last meal - the pork scratching was that good.

Next up was Chorizo, Laneh (a sort of cheese made from strained yoghurt) Crisp Bread and Kale which was quite spicy but not to much and what they had done to the Kale I do not know but if you are not a fan it would convert you. With it we had Pheasant Rillette and a bread basket - this looked like the oh-so-fashionable pulled pork that's everywhere at the moment very tasty and not too gamey
at all and strangely went very well mixing and matching with the chorizo.

Lamb Chips - strange sounding but sort of like large lamb croquets, again so well cooked. Pan Fried Goats Cheese with Hazelnuts, Honey and Thyme was our nod to the vegetarian - beautifully cooked goats cheese not overdosed with honey and thyme I think we could have eaten two of these. Beef Cigars with Mustard Mayo was my choice - almost like duck wraps but crunchy with perfectly cooked beef.

Apart from the incredibly relaxed, fun atmosphere the thing that really struck me about The Shed was the quality of the food. It would be very easy to have got carried away with the fantastic ideas on this menu and then in practise not be able to deliver the standard necessary for a restaurant. But every single thing we ate was delicious and so cleverly prepared and cooked properly. Nothing was over or under seasoned - you could taste the herbs and flavours as they were meant to be but they didn't overshadow whatever it was that they were with. It's clever cooking by people who have really thought about this menu.

As soon as I have the funds (or the excuse) I will be back there. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a restaurant so much! Shed on Urbanspoon

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