Bumpkin was the favourite destination for “work drinks” at my previous job. This relaxed cosy restaurant and bar is ideal for enjoying a glass of wine and a good gossip. The chain has venues in Westfield Stratford, Notting Hill and South Kensington, but although united in conception, each restaurant has its own character and charm.
I visited the South Kensington branch last week to try out their autumnal menu of British classics. There is the instant feeling of comfort as you walk through the door: dimmed lighting, warm colours and the smell of good food. We sat huddled around an intimate table and chose quickly.
Spying the recently redesigned cocktail menu, we chose a couple to whet our appetites. British Martini was a tasty mix of red berries, though I thought Herefordshire Gimlet, with a hint of jam and shaken with Grey Goose Vodka, was the best – refreshing and sweet but with a kick. There were plenty more to choose from – Spiced Daiquiri is a lovely festive drink for those in the mood.
Starters were sadly a bit of a disappointment all round: Treacle and Cider ham hock was bland and barely seasoned and the Caramelised red onion tart with yarg cheese was overly sweet, served cold and dry and not what I was expecting.
Luckily things improved with the main course and we were pleased we had both decided on the hearty grilled steaks, sirloin for me, fillet for my guest. Served with roasted Portobello mushroom, grilled tomato and soft herb crusted bone marrow it was a feast of English ingredients. The meat was tender and juicy although no sauce was available; a creamy peppercorn would have been perfect. Chunky skin-on chips were delicious, piping hot with a good texture.
It was getting late and we intended to opt for the lightest desserts on offer… that is until my guest spotted Sticky Toffee Pudding. It was a wise choice, oozing caramelly goodness and topped with Jude’s vanilla ice-cream… I barely managed to dunk my spoon in for a mouthful, the whole plate was scraped clean within a minute. Mulled wine poached pear was a simple dish, with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon… I loved the taste of soft sweet pear with the dollop of Cornish clotted cream, though I thought the additional gingerbread was perhaps superfluous.
I imagine Bumpkin cooks up a cracking Roast Dinner, and with the large private dining area, the South Kensington branch would be the ideal place to hold Christmas meals: a homely place to drink, dine and be merry this winter.
More information here.