Fine dining restaurant in Holland Park
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Japanese
Address : 120-122 Holland Park Ave, Notting Hill, London , W11 4UA, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.flatthree.london
Opening Times : Tue – Sat (Dinner): 18:00 – 21:30, Fri & Sat (Lunch): 12:00 – 14:30
It's safe to say that there's nothing quite like Flat Three, which definitely applies to London but could easily be true further afield. First off, it's one of Holland Park's first fine dining restaurants, a fact that's quite surprising considering the neighbourhood's property prices which skew to the stratosphere. Secondly, it's definitely the first eatery that we've encountered which splices the culinary traditions of Japan, Korea, Sweden and Denmark.
On a Thursday night visit a restrained yet excited energy pervaded the dining room, an exercise in minimalism with a blue and beige colour palette. Like Alinea in Chicago, Flat Three does it's best to disconcert and jar the diner entering the experience. The front door is situated discreetly at the corner of a junction, and as you approach it you could easily mistake it for a flat. Descending underground, you pass a large open kitchen replete with stainless steel gleaming under the bright lights. The design is light and airy, there's a summery Scandinavian ambience playing off vintage darkwood furniture.
The aforementioned kitchens are headed up by Pavel Kanja, who formerly worked with Scott Hallsworth at Nobu in Melbourne, and brings an obsessive eye to detail. Soon after settling in, an array of snacks were presented to the table. We were offered a yuzu juice to drink and served glazed carrots on a pancake with a crumpet-ish texture. It was obvious from here on out that Rene Redzepi was an important touchstone. This was bolstered by our second dish: salmon sashimi was overlaid with gossamer thin lardo and spiked with a sharp ponzu sauce infused with Douglas fir needles. The interplay of porcine and piscine was an enlightened dynamic.
Heirloom English tomatoes were coarsely sliced and immersed in a buttermilk sauce with Scott's pine and celery. This was followed by another veggie dish - alliums with ramson, smoked tofu and nasturtium vinegar - the leaves dressed with the smoky, salty amalgam of vinegar and tofu. Live tofu was a bit of a jump for us, we hadn't had anything like it before. The texture could be kissing cousins with Greek yoghurt. It was soft and creamy with a granular ballast, served with a Shishitou preserve and kinome, which had a similar taste to mango chutney.
Poached seabass was rather an austere dish - with a tranche of the fish served with skin on in a clear broth of fermented cauliflower. Runeberg cake, named for the Finnish-Swedish national poet, was very much the opposite, a warm and homely dish. Cooked to order, it takes approximately twenty minutes but is well worth the wait. It's similar to a madeira/plain sponge with a crispy exterior and a molten warm exterior. Served with milk ice cream and a cherry compote, it was a lovely full stop to the meal.
For anyone who wants fine dining with a heavy dollop of imagination and innovation, Flat Three is a shoo-in.