November 26, 2005

14 Blenheim Crescent  W11; 020 7729 5454 

Since we love Eight Over Eight so much we decided to try its more popular relative, located in the now trendy Notting Hill area, a 5-minute walk from either the Ladbroke Grove or Notting Hill Gate tube station.   

Walking in, we felt right at home.  The layout and décor is almost exactly like Eight Over Eight.  There is a definite buzz, however, and all the fashionable people started coming in around 1:30 to linger over their lunches.   We were earlier. 

Even the menu is virtually the same rather than more expansive as we had been told by the Eight Over Eight manager to expect.  As as result, unfortunaly we didn’t find the betel leaves.  Alas, they had just changed the menu. Not to worry, though, we were able to find enough other dishes to make up for that loss. 

We munched on edamame with soy and mirin with our glass of Carlyle Chardonnay 2000 (£6 for 250 ml).  We then switched to a Rioja Marques de la Concordia (£6.75 for 250 ml) for the meal itself.  The chicken and coriander gyozas (steamed and then grilled) were great (£6) and different and their spare ribs (£5.5) as fantastic as those at 8/8.   

Two salads, the warm aubergine salad (£9.5) and a seared tuna sashimi with warm bacon and shallots (£11), were our next course, and then we finished with a wonderful shredded duck with pancakes, much like Peking duck without the crispy skin. 

Walking back to the Notting Hill Gate tube stop, we passed the new offices of McKinsey, having relocated from St. James’s Place, one indication of how far up-market this area has come.  There were several antique stores and some charming boutiqes.  One in particular (Yacco Maricard), which is exclusively devoted to three trendy Japanese designers, caught Varian’s eye and a part of our pocketbook.

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