The Shed in Notting Hill is the flagship restaurant brought to you by the Gladwin Brothers, including Chef Patron Oliver, Restauranteur Richard, and Gregory, a west Sussex based farmer. Opened in 2012, The Shed’s shabby-chic interior and ‘local and wild’ menu brings a slice of the Sussex countryside to west London.
“Our menu champions seasonal produce with sustainability at the forefront of everything we cook. We use all things wild, foraged, and locally grown, including sustainable livestock from the Gladwin’s family farm in West Sussex.
We proudly serve a range of award-winning English wines from our vineyard, Nutbourne. Oliver and our head chef Lewis have developed a range of exciting new dishes like Crab Thermidor and a classic Beef Wellington using only the best of British produce from our West Sussex farm and surrounds.”
Modishly grow-your-own, fresh-from-the farm-rustic wholesomeness. I’ve walked past The Shed loads of times on the route down to High Street Ken from Notting Hill (it’s just by the bus stop that takes you down Kensington Church Street), and its pretty yellow-awning-ed exterior, all overflowing window boxes and ivy-covered lattice-work, illuminated at night with strings of fairy lights, has always looked extremely enticing. I’ve never been inside (we’re reviewing the takeaway menu), but judging by the website you can expect an urban evocation of dreamy bucolic bliss, bare wooden tables, craft beers, edible flowers on prettily plated dishes, smiley waitresses in pink and white gingham shirts. You get the picture.
The takeaway menu is appealing, a single sheet of creamy paper with Courier New typeface (mainly lower case, natch) offering such pastoral yumminess as ‘Brambletye farm leaf salad, elderflower vinegar dressing, £4.0’, and ‘Baked whole truffled Tunworth cheese, conference pear, crisp bread, £18.5’.
After weeks of lockdown, it’s exciting to be expecting a takeaway from a local gem, and the array of recyclable brown paper containers is accompanied by a handwritten postcard (bearing the slogan Think Taste, Zero Waste, Keep it Real, The Gladwin Bros x) letting us know our menu for the night, which has been chosen for us.
Not really something I can comment on in current circumstances, but I know it’s very popular with locals – it mostly seemed to be heaving whenever I walked past before The Hideousness.
We were right in the middle of the heatwave the night of our order, and the mainly cold and room-temperature dishes had clearly been chosen with this in mind. ’Smoked chalk stream trout, blinis, tarragon crème fraiche, £9’ sadly came without the optional addition of 10g of Exmoor caviar at £20, but you can’t really knock them for that during such straitened times. The thick slices of cured fish, soft, fresh blinis and herby, creamy relish were all spot on, a great start to the meal, which felt a bit like an upmarket indoor picnic on such a sizzling evening (oh for a garden).
‘Sussex pig ear terrine, chilli mayo, £9’ was sadly not my cup of tea, but I guess that’s my fault as I when asked if I had any food issues I smugly responded ‘none’ rather than the more accurate, ‘any part of an animal’s face or feet.’ My less squeamish husband loved it though, and the accompanying chilli mayo and home-baked sourdough lived up to the kitchen’s promise.
‘Tempura spring onions, shed harissa, £9’, six between us, were really very good, the alliums rendered sweet and tender by their brief exposure to heat, the batter light, crisp and non-greasy; ‘Laverstoke mozzarella, pea, wild garlic’ (listed on our postcard, but not the menu, hence lack of price) was a big ball of mild, milky heaven from the eponymous organic Hampshire farm, offset by tiny emerald green peas, tasting of summer, virtue and freshness.
Next up was one of the stars of the show, ‘Devon brown crab Thermidor, £25’, the only dish to be served hot, and still hot it was, beautifully presented in the half-shell. Mmmm… rich, unctuous, cheesy, heady with the sweetness of both brandy and crustacean, soft within, crunchy without… Quite a triumph to deliver as a takeaway, even more so during distinctly un-English weather. ‘Roasted new potatoes, wild garlic pesto, £5’ were just as they sound, nutty with crisp skins flecked with green. I love wild garlic and preserving it in a more delicate version of the ubiquitous condiment seems a damn good idea for when it’s not in season (like now).
Finally, ‘Pecan & cherry brownie, fresh English strawberries (serves up to 6), £10’, the other showstopper. Chewy, dark fudgy, enlivened with the crunch of nuts, perfect seasonal fruit a nice foil to its intense chocolatiness. And blimey, it really was huge, could (and did) feed more than 6, lasting for longer than a week.
It was the most delicious guilty pleasure, after months of nothing remotely pudding-y, as damage limitation is essential until gyms and pools re-open or the weather stops being so insane. I can’t quite work out the logic considering all the non-self-distancing twats at protests, brawling in pubs etc, but this is a food column, not a political piece, so I’ll shut up.
As we were at home, on a Friday night, providing our own, the less said about this probably the better.