Clare Smyth’s debut solo venture is an elegant and informal restaurant that champions a more modern approach to fine dining
At Restaurant Gordon Ramsay Clare Smyth became the first British woman to hold three Michelin stars. With Core, the Notting Hill restaurant she opened in late 2017, Smyth has finally achieved the same accolade on her own with the restaurant being awarded three stars in the 2021 red book.
Smyth hasn’t strayed from her haute cuisine background, creating a chic and modern dining space befitting her culinary pedigree. The one-time World’s Best Female Chef is passionate about fine dining and Core feels both reassuringly traditional as well as slick and forward thinking in its approach, a trick that’s often difficult to pull off with any success.
The restaurant has two tasting menus – one focusing on its classic dishes and another that’s more based around the seasons – as well as an à la carte offer. Dishes are imaginative, with Smyth often eschewing the luxury ingredients found in restaurants of similar ambition. So, a potato dish that might be served with caviar comes instead with herring and trout roe; and hogget and mutton – once seen as inferior meats – also make an appearance. In some cases, vegetables are made into hero ingredients, such as in her classic ‘lamb carrot’ dish, in honour of the carrot she would pinch from the pot when cooking braised lamb.
All this amounts to a dining experience that is decadent but fresh, one that harks back to a time when fine dining restaurants ruled supreme, but which also feels contemporary and on the money.