Thursday, 23 May 2013

REVIEW: Eight Over Eight, King's Road, Chelsea

Quite literally at the top of my road, Eight Over Eight sits on the Kings Road, in the Worlds End area (shabby part) as most of my friends put it. It’s been serving food to the locals here since 2003 and every time I walk past it's completely jam packed. Both in the restaurant and at the cocktail bar located at the front. Why I had only managed to visit now is beyond me.

The restaurant is part of the well-known Ricker Group. It all kicked off for Will Ricker in 1996 with the opening of Cicada in Clarkenwell, which I believe is still doing well. Will Ricker now owns a multitude of well-known restaurants in London such as XO, Casa Negra and La Bodega Negra, all of which I still have not been to.

Now I should probably mention first. If you hate eating in a room full of pretentious diners, then don't bother coming here, because that is exactly what it’s full of, but if it is no bother to you, then you have found your perfect home. Sundays are the best days to try this place as they offer a massive 40% discount off food. A bargain if you ask me.


The menu here is pan-Asian, which is simply a mixture of dishes taken from different parts of Asia. After a few minutes of toiling over the menu, which, is really well thought out, we decided first on the chilli salt squid. Lots of it arrived in a paper cone and the squid was not overdone. The batter looked a little anaemic, but was crispy and well-seasoned. I also loved the home-made chilli sauce on the side, it tasted though it had just been made. The only thing that let this down was maybe spending a little too long on the kitchen side; it was a little cold by the time it got to the table.


Soft shell crab with jalapeno was out next and arrived in a little wooden basket. Now I have recently developed a bit of a crush on soft shell crab, so I really wanted to be impressed. After a quick deep frying the crab had been mutilated to fit into the tiny basket it arrived in, which made it perfect finger eating material. After a quick dunk into the most amazing jalapeno sauce I have had, I quickly finished off the rest. It was good, but the sauce was even better. The crab was a little hollow and needed a bit more meat.


The crispy pork belly with black vinegar arrived - I was already feeling a little full. This is tapas, right? I hope the BBQ chicken I ordered next is small. The pork belly was fantastic. Soft, good ratio of meat-to-fat and sticky. The black vinegar gave it a nice glaze, but truthfully I couldn't taste it very much. Still it added something; I just couldn't work out what.


I must admit, I wasn't quite expecting half a small bird to arrive at the table after all the food we had eaten so far. It may look small in the picture but in reality that plate is a cast iron roasting pan, twice the size of my dinner plate. Korean style BBQ chicken with a side of kimchee esc style salad, I think. The chicken was beautiful, it was so succulent, if I tried I probably could have sucked it straight off the bone. The smoky grilled flavour and marinade just made this dish pure pleasure to eat. It could definitely take the place of my Sunday roast anytime.


We managed to find some room for desserts, as you always manage somehow. The chocolate fondant with green tea ice cream had a fifteen minute wait, I was happy as it meant I got a short breather between courses. It was good, but I wasn't screaming wow and the fifteen minute climax wait got me over excited, expecting something far more special. The ice cream was well made, but for me the green tea flavour was too intense and tannic.


After eating the best sticky toffee pudding I have had in my entire life at Hawksmoor Air Street I have become a bit judgemental towards this humble, traditional dish I was served as a child from the glamorous microwave. Eight Over Eights version was nice, but the outsides were a bit dry and holding back on the intense toffee flavour I was hoping for. The custard was very good.

For pan-Asian food I would definitely recommend this place. It may not exactly be the most traditional Asian food, but for the modern western pallet its good food and I highly recommend it. Just don't forget your Louis Vuitton.

7/10

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