Though Westbourne Grove is the nearest tube station, I'd tend to recommend arriving by taxi. The area is certainly an up-and-coming part of London being just a short stroll from Notting Hill and a hop and a skip from Portobello Road/Goldborne Road intersection. Here also are the main recording studios of Sony, Island, Chrysalis and Virgin. So Number 10, open all day from breakfast to cocktail hour, offers a great place to stop while visiting the famous Portobello Antiques Market or the Portobello Film Festival.
On our arrival, we had cocktails made with traditional ingredients to good old fashioned American style. You get a feeling for the feel from the Jim Thompson (popular American 50's author) image on the cocktail menu cover you see here. We sampled the Manhattan and the Singapore Sling both of which were finely made and refreshing.
On the subject of famous people and places, we are real close to the London center of Paul McCartney's music empire, Portobello Road with it's famous Electric Cinema (member's club). In this cinema you can eat and drink as well as watch quality movies, a great idea. But go to Marco Island Movie Theater, Florida for the full deal - eating while watching. As noted before, we're close to Notting Hill made famous in the Hugh Grant movie of the same name. A lot of famous folk walk these streets on a daily basis, so it's a good place for people watching.
The food! My Double Baked Stilton Souffle starter came with conference pears and a port sauce. The pears and port sauce were great, but I'd have liked a little more stilton throughout. Richard, my guest, chose the very tasty seasonal soup. Its carrots gave it body, the ginger gave it an edge which was nicely balanced with honey. We sampled the Herb Poached Salmon which had an enjoyably strong flavour of radishes.
The wine was a full bodied 1999 Schubert, Cabernet Sauvignon from Hawkes Bay, NZ. The hint of blackcurrent made this an interesting choice.
At this point the evening's musician arrived, playing double bass in the background. There's a musician there every night and a duo every Saturday, playing a wide variety of styles. I was pleased to see the young and friendly staff happily congregate around another diner, to sing Happy Birthday. This was done in a relaxed manner while delivering a complimentary sweet to the lucky guest - a style of service I sorely miss in Britain's sadly introspective culture.
My Cucumber Stuffed corn fed Chicken was delivered with baked parsnip cream, roasted beetroot, sticky shallots and a rich wine sauce. The sauce was superb, the onions were crispy just as I like them and the beetroot was delicious. A cornucopia of flavours!!
The waitress omitted to ask Richard how he wanted his Juniper Crust Rack of Lamb so it arrived a little under-done for his taste. However since it was a very tender cut of lamb this only marginally detracted from the experience. The potato mash and redcurrent jus worked well to fully recover his confidence.
And now we get to the deserts. A well textured Bread and Butter Pudding delighted Richard with its cinnamon and nutmeg spices. In the meantime, I scoffed a delightful Valhrona Chocolate Fondant surrounded with raspberry and avocado cream. In the middle of its crispy surround, I found delicious hot melted chocolate - I'm salivating at the memory.
Head Chef, Julien Maisonneuve comes from France having done service in the 2 Michelin Star Les Cedres and more recently Head Chef of the Vestry. The Number 10 menu demonstrates this impressive background.
While Number 10 may not be in the middle of town, it certainly is worth a short tube journey and is ideally positioned for those visiting Portobello Road and Notting Hill. Take a look and let us know what you think.
Wally Robertson, March 2004
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Phone: 0208 969 8922
email Number 10
Number 10 on the Web
Fax: 0207 969 8933
Hours: Bar Mon - Sat 10:00 - 00:00 Sun 11:00 - 22:30 Restaurant Mon - Fri 18:00 - 00:00 Sat 10:00 - 00:00 Sat 11:00 - 22:30 Members Bar
Mon - Sat 10:00 - 01:00 Sun 11:00 - 22:30
Restaurant Capacity: 40
Bar Capacity: 110
Members Bar Capacity: 50
Nearest Tube: Westbourne Park
email Number 10
Number 10 on the Web