Dorian is a lovely new bistro that recently opened in Notting Hill, headed by an A-Team that includes Chris D’Sylva of Notting Hill Fish + Meat Shop and Supermarket of Dreams, Head Chef Max Coen (ex-Kitchen Table and Ikoyi), Bar Manager Ale Villa (ex-Core by Clare Smyth), and Ben Whitfield (ex-Brasserie Zedel).
When Dorian was announced, a lot of the headlines (including ours) called out the fact that the owners were describing it as an ‘anti-Notting Hill bistro’. We weren’t quite sure what they meant then and having been there for dinner, we’re even less sure now – it seemed pretty damn Notting Hill to us, packed full of a well-heeled sort enthusiastically tucking into oysters and big sharing steaks. We guess you can try and take Notting Hill out of the bistro but Notting Hill will still come to the bistro anyway?!
A rough and ready small plates restaurant in Hackney this is not then, but who’s complaining? Dorian is a gorgeous space with green leather banquettes, smart wood paneling, crisp white tablecloths over marble tables with wrought iron legs, occasional flashes of gold, and an open bar and marble kitchen counter with seating running from the front to the back of the restaurant.
The open kitchen is dominated by a huge wood grill from which Max and his team prepare many of the dishes – simple bistro fare made with excellent ingredients. We loved the snacks, in particular two versions of a potato rosti, one topped with crab and the other with onion. Get them both. The rosti itself was like a deluxe triangular hash brown – we’d love to see a Dorian breakfast menu with these at the centre of a full English. Other top snacks include the Gillardeau oysters and the liver parfait on toast. Ok so we actually ate all the snacks and we’d recommend you do too.
We went for two starters, a very good beef tartare served with homemade crisps, and wild mushrooms and celeriac puree, which was perhaps the only slight disappointing dish of the night. The pork chop on the mains section isn’t listed as a sharing dish but is easily enough for two to share (especially if you’ve had all the snacks and two starters like us) – it’s a rich, juicy, tender chop sourced from Lake District Farmers. Sides of cabbage and hazelnut, plus pink fir potatoes are the perfect accompaniments. And then to finish it all off, there is a superb pear custard tart which shouldn’t be missed.
Dorian is a very good neighbourhood restaurant in Notting Hill – and wherever it sits on the scale of ’Notting Hill-ness’, the locals are very lucky to have it.
105-107 Talbot Road, London W11 2AT