'Not only is the meat very close to impeccable, but the accompaniments are wonderful'
'Not only is the meat very close to impeccable, but the accompaniments are wonderful'

Pomona’s

Open Tuesday-Thursday 11.30am-10pm, Friday 11.30am-10.30pm, Saturday 9am-10pm, Sunday 9am-9pm

The blurb

Pomona’s—the Notting Hill neighbourhood restaurant with a breezy, SoCal vibe—is welcoming a new, local chef: meet the talented Wolfe Conyngham, who has been spearheading a menu makeover. With a focus on sustainability, seasonality, and health, Pomona’s modern and eclectic menu features influences from both sides of the pond and all around the world. Though some ingredients are sourced locally, all dishes are crafted with global flair (see: Welsh Lamp Rump; Indonesian Monkfish Curry; and Iberico Pork Pluma—each priced at £15).

Weekend brunch boasts both hangover cure-alls like the French Toast with maple syrup and bacon (£6) and health-friendly fixes such as the Party Chard smoothie, made with apple, chard, peach, and strawberry (£6).

The style

The menu isn’t the only thing that has changed at Pomona’s. The lighting has become softer and the colours simplified. Parts of the restaurant have been transformed with calm natural wood to balance out the bursts of crayon-bright hues, while the dining room still maintains that splendid, wide-open, sunny feel, and guests can continue to enjoy views of the open-plan kitchen.

The decor vibe comes off as mid-century Californian, and the live, leafy plants add to this cheery ambience. There’s also a charming outdoor terrace perfect for enjoying those sun-filled days—should they ever decide to show up.

The crowd

On a snowy Thursday evening, the place is completely empty. However, I’m told that the spot is a daytime favourite of mothers, which seems apt: there’s plenty of space for prams and the cocktail menu packs some seriously stiff concoctions, should mummy be in need of a little pick-me-up (and what mummy isn’t?).

The food

The cuisine is a total clash of cultures. There are starters of Onion Bhajees, Vietnamese Rolls, and Goat Cheese Croquettes (£6 each) and mains ranging from the light and healthy (Quinoa with cucumber, peas, labneh, and pomegranate seeds at £12) to the heavy and meaty (Dry Aged Sirloin with wild mushrooms, horseradish shoots, spinach, and Béarnaise sauce at £15).

Pomonas Interior 6 (bar area in view)

Let’s get the appetisers out of the way; the Asian-inspired Crisp Duck (£6) was totally palatable, save for the wet, slimy cucumber on which the duck is served. Crisp Squid (£6), meanwhile, was unremarkable and I would recommend skipping, but the Goat Cheese Croquettes (£6) were expertly crisped and oozing with herby, tangy cheese (order these!).

Now let’s get serious: the reason you should visit Pomona’s is because of the glorious, glorious meat. Cooked on a wood and charcoal Bertha grill (similar to an indoor barbecue), the Welsh Lamp Rump and Iberico Pork Pluma will enchant any carnivore. With a chargrilled punch, succulent, juicy texture, and herby aftertaste, the quality of meat is apparent in each bite. Not only is the meat very close to impeccable, but the accompaniments (such as the garden peas, pea shoots, goat curd, and mint jus that escort the lamb) are well selected, complementary, and wonderful in their own right. I would go so far to say that you couldn’t go wrong ordering off the “Wood & Charcoal” portion of the menu.

All “Wood & Charcoal” dishes are well judged at £15 each. But overall there’s some strange pricing in the menu: the drinks are a bit on the expensive side, whereas the food seems slightly underpriced (for example, both the smoothie and the French toast are priced at £6).

Desserts are appetising, but nothing to write home about.

The drink

The cocktails are nice and punchy at Pomona’s, and at those prices—£12 for a Camomile Manhattan made with camomile-infused rye, vermouth, and chocolate Suze—they ought to be! The wine list isn’t the best, but if you’re willing to spend a bit more, you’ll be happier for it. Or just stick with those killer cocktails, which they do an excellent job with.

In a nutshell

A cheerful spot with remarkable wood and charcoal-grilled meats.

Pomona’s Restaurant & Bar, 47 Hereford Road, London, W2; 020 7229 1503; www.pomonas.co.uk 

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