Notting Hill, London

A modern, casual neighbourhood restaurant with a fine dining pedigree at its heart


Husband and wife Diego Ferrari and Emily Roux’s restaurant is so called because the couple have long been described as having character – being stubborn even – and rather than hide from this fact they thought they’d put it on the front door for everyone to see. As it happens it’s an apposite name; the pair have created a contemporary neighbourhood restaurant full of charm and character as well as a hearty portion of conviviality.

Roux, the daughter of Michel Roux Jr, met Milan-born Ferrari while working at Alain Ducasse’s Louis XV restaurant and their restaurant is a representation of all these elements. Caractère’s menu encompasses Italian dishes and locally-supplied English produce as well as French culinary flair most notable in its sauces.

With the restaurant, the couple have put their classical training to good use while also taking a much more accessible approach that befits its location. Dishes come under the different descriptors of ‘curious’, ‘subtle’, ‘delicate’, ‘robust’ and ‘strong’ – desserts are filed under ‘greedy’ – with a menu structure that as suitable for regular dining as the more special occasion. Diners can choose three courses from the a la carte menu for under £60 or opt for the tasting menu (£83) but there’s also the option of a three-course lunch menu for £39 or with a half-bottle of wine for £50, a trick that seems to have been borrowed from her father at Le Gavroche.

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