The Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler has a mixed experience at Clare Smyth’s new Notting Hill restaurant Core
“A canapé tart of exquisite brittleness holding a confection of smoked tomato tartare with macadamia nuts and black olive seeds, as much a work of art as desserts of pain perdu — lost inside a glassy sugar shell — with peaches and the chocolate and hazelnut crémeux, are presumably the handiwork of Kevin Miller, as the pastry chef is called.
“Now is probably the appropriate moment to invoke the life-affirming malty sourdough bread offered with ‘virgin’ Isle of Wight butter — also bought by Noma apparently — and the zingy passion fruit red Cambodian kampot pepper pâté de fruit that ends the meal on a jubilant note.
“On the CV of head chef Jonny Bone is Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York. This venture, where the aim is to raise consciousness about responsible, virtuous food use and the menu is $258 (£201) excluding ‘beverage’ and tax, reverberates in Core.
“Protein is found almost taking a backseat to vegetables in main courses of Charlotte potato and lamb braised carrot. This works quite well with the spud from Chris Hayselden’s Suffolk Farm, although innate sweetness beats a retreat under copious topping of fish roe, recherché herbs and spices and the sauce of seaweed beurre blanc.
“Seaweed is a generally a favoured ingredient, turning up to remind the hand-dived Isle of Mull scallop cooked over wood where it has come from. The carrot, however, is a sorry specimen and attention turns quickly to the little bun stuffed with shreds of lamb presented alongside. A pool of sheeps’ milk yoghurt has turned up at the wrong party. “Roscoff onion expertly stuffed with rich oxtail and its accompaniment of sliced beef short rib tips the balance back in favour of meat.” Continue reading