After closing Dock Kitchen in 2017 Stevie Parle has made a return to Portobello Docks with brand new pop-up JOY. Created in collaboration with Tom Dixon, the space includes a bar, a 70-cover al fresco restaurant called FLORA, a farm shop from Canterbury’s The Goods Shed, a bottle shop from Unchartered Wines and a honey store featuring Parle’s very own hives.
FLORA itself takes up the outdoor terrace which has been filled with hundreds of dahlias and floral displays created by Arthur Parkinson and Caroline Nevile, making use of flowers that would have been used at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. Not a bad place at all to be on a sunny London day! This being west London you might even see the odd celeb pop up from behind a plant pot – we were dining next to none other than Kevin Spacey on our visit.
The menu is a simple stripped-back affair, with seasonal produce from The Goods Shed treated without too much fanfare. An outdoor grill is responsible for much of the cooking, with the smokey smell of fish, meats, and veg quickly filling the air. All of this makes choosing dishes pretty tricky but we can absolutely recommend the clams cooked with fresh peas and guanciale as a ‘must-order’ starter. Watermelon, feta, fresh chilli and mint salad is another good choice, ticking the fresh and light boxes, although was potentially a little too heavy on the watermelon ratio (unless you really love watermelon).
Star of the mains has to be the chicken, cooked over wood, and stuffed with ricotta – new potatoes & smoked butter are the obvious accomplice from the sides. There’s an excellent pork chop too, served with anchovy and plums, as well grilled sea bass with romseso, that are both good options for the main course. Finish up with the American plum pie and you will be filling the joy for sure.
At the end of your meal, you’ll be able to spread some joy by adding the cost of a veg box onto your bill, which JOY will then donate to local charities. An excellent initiative.
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Portobello Dock, 344 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5BU