Knock knock on the little yellow door at no. 68 Notting Hill Gate. I’m here to see some flatmates, a group of friends who are having a house party.
This is a pop up with a difference, the concept is simple, it’s a bar and restaurant set up like your mates’ house. There are flatmates all with different personalities and tastes, thrown together in a funky sort of soup that can end up magical. Of course we all have our flatmate horror stories where the end result is anything but, luckily you’re safe from the flat politics in this make-believe pop up.
Just like when you go to visit your friends, all you have to do is whatsapp the flatties and let them know you’re coming round and you’re ushered upstairs to a warm and cosy room, all the better to get comfy with a cocktail or some house ‘punch’.
A cocktail in a tea cup later and I’m unwinding chatting to fellow bloggers Erica, Laura and Katy and oohing and aahing over the quirky decor. You’ll have to ignore the yellow tinge to all the photos as it’s a little dark in there and the lights are turned down to ambient.
Dinner is served up by the newest of the flatmates and Luigi is the new man on the block and so tonight is Italian night. Pop ups like this aren’t best known for their quality of food, in fact nowhere that sells itself on atmosphere can be really relied upon for good food but let me set you straight here. These guys have nailed it and Luigi (Really the Wandering Chef) is a dab hand in the kitchen. There’s an alarming volume of food written on these menus and with true simple and uncomplicated flatmate style, we kick off.
Verdict: Sublime! The arancini are hot and crunchy but it’s the antipasti that steals the show – soft pillows of burrata served with pesto, ribbons of proscuitto and smoked beef carpaccio washed down with crunchy crostini which I, like most others eat way too many of.
Duck ragu and pork belly come next and frankly this is a silly amount of food – having gorged on antipasti, I’m struggling to keep up the pace but the pasta with ragu is just too good to not keep slurping away at. I never order pasta in restaurants as I’m usually under some kind of misguided belief that I can do just as well myself (I really really really can’t) and so I’m always ever so pleasantly surprised when a great pasta dish lands in front of me. The pork belly was simply wonderful but I couldn’t really face too much of this so I won’t offer comment.
Desserts let the side down a little if I’m honest – perhaps we’re just too full to do justice (An entirely real possibility) but they’re just not quite there. Not bad at all, just not quite amazing.
What do you need to round off a good meal? Well, a coffee and a cigarette of course (Well I don’t agree with the cigarette part – smoking is bad for you kids) and so an Espresso martini complete with cigarette materialises. There is some debate about whether this is a candy cigarette (The only acceptable kind) but this is the real deal which you’re cordially invited to go outside and shiver alongside the bouncer should you wish to enjoy your smoke.
I’m waiting for the day that someone whips up a batch of decaff martinis as while I love an espresso martini, I relish my sleep even more and I’m past the age where I drink espresso martinis to party till dawn.
How can you get your own little slice of Little Yellow Door action? Fridays are dinner nights, it’s a bargain at £35pp for all that food including a housemates punch although don’t forget to whatsapp to make sure they have room for you. On Thursdays you can pretend it’s the weekend already with their cocktails and bar snacks menu and on Saturdays they run a full on house party with bar food to nibble on should you need to line the stomach.
Hurry up though, their lease runs out in May so get knocking on that yellow door in Notting Hill.
I was a guest of the Flatmates, but as always, opinions are my own.