Since opening its doors in 2016, Pomona’s has been a firm fixture on the Notting Hill foodie scene. But it is entering an exciting new culinary era, with the arrival of the talented Ruth Hansom as Head Chef.
Hamsom is a fast-rising star in the UK hospitality industry; she joins Pomona’s from Luton Hoo hotel in Bedfordshire, where she held the position of head chef in the property’s fine-dining restaurant Wernher (after five years spent at the Michelin-starred Ritz London). She also has the distinction of being the first female winner of the Young National Chef of the Year in 2017.
Ruth’s passion for locally sourced British produce befits this favourite neighbourhood restaurant and permeates throughout her exciting new all-day and relaxed fine dining menus, that feature a twist on the traditional a la carte offering, with sharing dishes inspired by the land, sea and earth.
Pomona’s oozes summer-style charm (which in the current climate is more than a little welcome) – from the glass conservatory entrance to the abundance of terracotta potted-greenery inside – and manages that rare feat of being both elegant and casual. It has a pared-back stylishness that feels almost Scandinavian (circular mirrors, exposed woodwork and white walls) but it gives off a warmth that seems equally Mediterranean (peach-coloured seats and low-level lighting).
Our fellow diners seemed well-heeled but laid back; almost all arrived in casual wear, but looked as at home in Pomona’s as the single well-dressed couple out for a date. There was zero stuffiness, a genuine friendliness to the service, and the table next to us even brought along their adorable (and uber-well behaved) dog to dine with them. It is easy to imagine that Pomona’s would fit any occasion; whether you want a casual brunch, a romantic dinner date, or a bustling get-together with friends.
Looking even briefly over Ruth Hansom’s menu it is difficult to know where to start! From the Udale salt cured duck breast, jasmine raisin, turnip and apricot (£22) to the Wye Valley asparagus, pickled mushroom, truffle emulsion, pea shoot and pine (£12.50), I have rarely seen a menu so unique and from which I would happily scoff every dish. So, thank goodness, for the shared tasting menu!
At £55 per person (and an additional £50 accompanying wine flight) it is an absolute steal, and a sublimely tasty one at that. Tasting menus can either leave you a little underfed or a little overwhelmed, but even with a staggering 11 plates to share between diners, Hansom’s tasting menu leaves you in a state of happily-fed perfection.
Even though there were favourite highs (the meltingly lovely Honey and truffle gougeres and a I-can’t-believe-I’m-so-in-love-with-an-egg-I-normally-hate-egg Smoked potato foam with yolk, watercress and summer truffle) there were absolutely no lows. The portions were generous, gorgeously yet un-fussily presented, and utterly sensational! I simply cannot fault a single dish, and (to go out on a limb) if this talented chef doesn’t have Michelin star or two to her name in the not-too-distant future I shall be utterly stunned.
The drinks menu at Pomona’s is a triumph of variety and inventiveness (their cocktail menu alone is intriguing enough to merit a trip in its own right). From beers to spirits to a wealth of finely curated wines, Pomona’s caters perfectly for every pallet. We began with a seasonal Margherita (£11) of jalapeno-infused el Jimador, Chartreuse, cucumber juice, agave syrup and lime juice that hit exactly the right end-of-the-work-day spot. Our accompanying wine flight with dinner was as generous in measure as the plates of food, from a very fine Sussex sparkling aperitif, a tasty Sicilian Grillo, (my personal favourite) a Galician Albarino, a hearty Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, and finishing with a surprisingly honey-soft 2013 Tokaji.
In a nutshell
With Ruth Hansom at the helm of its kitchen, Pomona’s deserves to be THE hot ticket for dining out in Notting Hill! If you like your food seasonal, generous, unique and above all wonderfully tasty follow in WLL’s footsteps and go see for yourself. And in the meantime, I’ll be heading back to inspect that cocktail menu a little further…
47 Heresford Rd, London, W2 5AH; 020 7229 1503; www.pomonas.co.uk