Last night, star London chef Clare Smyth opened the doors to Core by Clare Smyth. Eater London was on the scene for the first dinner service, a hot ticket considering the restaurant is already booked up through October (!). Here now, the three reasons why Core is poised to be the restaurant opening of the season.
1. The chef is Clare Smyth. And that’s really all the reason you need.
Smyth became a household name in the fine-dining world as the chef — and then chef-partner — of London’s Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. During her tenure from 2007 to 2015, Smyth earned and maintained three Michelin stars, making her the only woman in the UK to do so. She’s one of the most acclaimed chefs cooking in London today.
2. It is totally charming, in a totally charming neighborhood.
Core is in Notting Hill, which is basically a real-life postcard. The restaurant’s Instagram page teased a little preview last night and the dining room looks posh af:
And pretty plates to covet:
So excited to see what Clare Smyth has in mind for our beautiful Nasturtium dishes. Her food is sensational so I'm thrilled that she's chosen to work with us. . . . . . . . . #CeramicaBlue #corebyclaresmyth #itsallinthedetails #newbeginnings #londonfood #topchef #londonrestaurants #newopening #britishfood #white #refined #finedining #porcelain #botanical #foodpresentation #nasturtium #leaf #thebetteritlooksthebetterittastes #nottinghill #lifeinnottinghill #onthetable #artisinal #plates #letscelebrate #smallplates #platesforchefs #cheflife #lovelondon
As news broke of Smyth’s plans for her first solo restaurant, it wasn’t clear, exactly, how similar to the formal Restaurant Gordon Ramsay her solo project would be. Eater London reports the atmosphere was more laid back and casual than expected, with loud music, but “still unmistakably fine.” The OpenTable reservation page describes the restaurant as “a modern fine dining restaurant with a strong British ethos, in an elegant, relaxed interior,” and a manager told Eater London the crew aims to be “more upbeat than the average fine-dining restaurant — we’re trying to break down barriers.”
This table, with a view of the glass-box kitchen, is clearly the one to book:
3. The food looks serious, but also delightful.
While the vibe might be comfortable, there’s serious cooking going down. The menu structure indicates the restaurant’s fine-dining aspirations. Per Eater London: “Both the lunch and dinner menus comprise of two tasting menus — one five-course (£80); one seven-course (£95) and a three-course a la carte with four choices at each stage (£65). Three pre-starter snacks are also served, as well as two petit-fours and come with both tasting and a la carte menus.” The wine list is over 400 bottles deep.
More on the food: “The menus include dishes that will familiar to Michelin-star-gazers, including crab, scallop, lamb, beef short rib, and a chocolate and hazelnut creméux. But there are modern touches too and a welcome effort to minimize waste: the crab dish includes three separate components — poached claw meat, a doughnut with white and brown meat and a consommé made from the bones; sous-vide chicken breast comes with a salad of confit egg yolk, chopped heart and liver and crispy skin. ‘We like to use the whole chicken,’ said the waiter.”
Take a spin through the opening night food offerings below:
- “snacks” Photos: Adam Coghlan / Eater London
- Isle of Mull scallop with dulse Photos: Adam Coghlan / Eater London
- “Crab royale” Photos: Adam Coghlan / Eater London
- Skate with Morecambe bay shrimps and brown butter Photos: Adam Coghlan / Eater London
- Chicken, sweetcorn and buckwheat Photos: Adam Coghlan / Eater London
- Pear and verbena Photos: Adam Coghlan / Eater London
- Chocolate and hazelnut crémeux with salted caramel Photos: Adam Coghlan / Eater London
- Barman Vincenzo’s Negroni with thyme Photos: Adam Coghlan / Eater London
While Eater London’s Adam Coghlan says the opening night was mostly locals, it’s not hard to imagine this restaurant being a visitor/tourist favorite, too.
• Core by Clare Smyth [Official site]
• A First Look at Core — Clare Smyth’s New Restaurant [EL]