Last week, we were invited down to sample some dishes at the newly relaunched Art Street Kitchen in upmarket Westminster. With a menu focused on ‘the finest seasonal produce’ and inspired by ‘the flavours of European Cuisine’, naturally we gladly headed down to see if Art St’s vibrant menu with creative twists lived up to its billing.
Subtly signposted, Art St Kitchen is nestled behind the trendy DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. Although attached, you come through the main entrance and are greeted with muted-coloured decor with colour provided from splashes on surrounding wall art. It’s very much a hotel restaurant vibe fighting with a rebellious sibling. We also see this same theme present through the food, with hints of vibrancy that never truly live up to the initial description.
The menu suggests sharing and three each would be ideal so we start with a Potato and Truffle Scotch Egg. Simple start that got us on the right track; a runny egg is an expectation and the dish delivers. The diners to our left also opted for the same and confessed to their server that this will be their first. As such, they were gifted this on the house, which is always nice to see.
Continuing the run of small plates and nibbles, here we took Ham Hock Terrine with Sourdough Toast and Seasonal Pickles. Nothing of rave note here. Simple, pleasant but nothing more. After asking for a glass of prosecco, we were brought a bottle and who were we to complain? Let’s crack that bottle open! The server was friendly in asking about our day and seemed to enjoy interacting with the patrons that were dotted around on this relatively quiet Friday night.
Next to be delivered was the Fried Squid with Fried Lemon and Orange Slices, and Salt Beef and Gherkin Croquettes with Parsley and Mustard. The former lacking flavour for our tastes given visits to other restaurants in London that have spoiled us. Quite disappointing really as the tightrope between chewy squid is always precarious and we found, on this occasion, it managed to lose its balance. The salt beef croquettes, however were both soft and crisp, and the accompanying sauce was packed with flavour and for us made the dish.
My dinner partner’s favourite course, dessert, was up next. I was taken back to my childhood with Neopolitan Ice Cream, while my dining partner went for the Apple Tart with Cinnamon Ice Cream. Though not necessarily a scathing observation, the quality of ice cream was similar to that which you could pick up at your local upmarket supermarket. The Apple Tarte Tatin did fare better, however, with the apple spiced and cooked nicely and ice cream creamy with a rich cinnamon taste.
Despite the modern feel and look, we found Art St Kitchen more a place to pop into when staying at the DoubleTree rather than a night spent travelling there. The creativity that is promised wasn’t daring enough to really be visible, despite sparks shining through every once in a while. Though the service was undoubtedly friendly, it was at times slow; we and the neighbouring diners did ask for the drinks on repeat occasions. On a relatively quiet night, this should not have been the case.
Overall we found Art St Kitchen more a place for grab and go if you don’t want to venture far from your hotel room or office. If only we could survive on Scotch Eggs alone…
Art St Kitchen is open daily Noon-10pm on Art Street, SW1P 4DD.