A group of us managed to get a table at Restaurant Ours a week before the official opening May 19th and I was really looking forward to it. Touted by Tom Sellers himself as the biggest restaurant launch in London this year (cue eye roll), it seems like he hopes it will be the next Chiltern. And it might be, I mean, they both have delicious fried chicken snacks.
Restaurant Ours is a stone’s throw away from what used to be the bustling Walton Street, and South Kensington has been hungry for this type of restaurant for a while. A crafted, low key atmosphere with good food and even better décor is exactly what will revitalize this area, which seems to have lost it’s mojo in the last few years.
Situated in the space formerly occupied by the Collection nightclub, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The last time I was at Collection was 2008, where I had the worst cosmopolitan of my life, was knocked over by a Russian prostitute and never returned. For me, the most striking thing about Restaurant Ours is what they did with the space. The exposed brick is still there, but whereas before there would be a model swinging from the chandeliers, there’s now some beautiful greenery. The familiar long hallway entrance is lit beautifully, but the real attraction is the open plan dining room’s large trees adorned with fairy lights. To add to the ambiance, a troupe of (bearded, obvs) acoustic musicians walked around and serenaded the tables.
We dined on a Friday night and there was a real mix of people (a table of 15 instagram models with three men as well as a family of four in our section), and since I went during their soft opening, I won’t necessarily be as critical as I usually would. Yes, there were hiccups. Most of the bathrooms were out of order, and the one that did work, didn’t have any soap. They didn’t have their lowest priced champagne (Ruinart at £85/bottle), brought a mocktail full of gin and they don’t take American Express. But, that aside I am so happy to have a restaurant like this in our neighborhood.
We were told by our waiter that Restaurant Ours was a ‘sharing concept’ dining experience and modern European cuisine. Although, the menu felt quite worldly, with influences from the American South (buttermilk chicken), India (lamb samosas) and Japan (vegetable tempura).
The menu was divided into several sections: Starters, Raw, Salads, Mains, Beef, Sides and Desserts. There was also an additional menu attached called Snacks.
He suggested we get a few starters for everyone to share, our own main, and then share the desserts. The selection looked fantastic, so we ordered several items off the snacks menu and the starters. The prices were reasonable, especially for this area, and the reason became clear when we saw the portions; they were all over the place.
The ham croquetas were plentiful, but contained far too much cheese and fell apart easily.
The salt and pepper squid could have been crispier and I found them to be a tad on the rubbery side, but the spicy dipping sauce was excellent and the dish came with a few pieces of asparagus tempura.
Whatever you do, you need to order the buttermilk chicken (or fancy chicken nuggets as I like to call them). They were delicious, perfectly cooked, crispy and came with an interesting creamy pineapple dipping sauce. This was by far my favourite dish!
The crab, avocado and apple was really good, but there was no way it was meant to be shared, unless it was between two small children or the type of date that pretends to eat, which if that is you, go for it.
Much of the food we ordered was charred, which seems to be in right now. Although it tastes good, it comes with that, “I could do this myself at home” feeling. Like when you go to a modern art museum and see some splatter painted canvas roped off and wonder if someone would pay you a million quid to colour outside the lines. But of course, if I was to char dinner at home, it would be referred to as burned and met with a smile that said, at least you tried. When you go to a restaurant it’s on purpose and you pay more for it.
For my main, I had the chicken ballotine, truffle and sweet corn. Although the portion was the smaller out of our mains, it was fantastic! I ordered it for the truffle, but it wasn’t a strong flavor in the dish. However, the sweet corn was served as a cream corn base, which was my favourite food growing up. It’s difficult to find here, so thank you Tom!
The table gave a thumbs up for the lamb.
And had a bite of hub’s veal chop, which was charred, but very tender and tasty.
The cauliflower was great, and as you can see in my post about NAC here, it’s the new superfood and never in stock in the grocery store. Expect to find this on every menu in the near future, possibly usurping kale, but most likely broccoli or green beans will take the hit.
We ordered the chips without the foie gras because I hate foie gras. The portion was big enough to feed a family of four.
Then came desserts! We ordered the peach soufflé to share because it was made with champagne and the doughnuts, because, doughnuts!
The soufflé was ok. I’m not a huge fan, partly because it’s so high maintenance but this one had interesting ingredients. So if you’re into soufflés, I’d give it a shot.
The doughnuts were awesome! Actually, they were little doughnut holes, but I like those even better. It was a bit of a pick and mix with cinnamon, salted caramel and apple. This is definitely a dessert you can share as it came with two of each kind, my favourite being the apple.
What to wear: I had absolutely no idea on this one. The early reviews said it was low key, but it’s still a hot restaurant in Chelsea. Several women were dressed like Kim Kardashian (and actually quite a few men were dressed as Kanye), but others were very Kate Moss in jeans and a white shirt. I wore a white vest top and leather skirt to split the difference.
Overall, if you can get a table, I highly recommend it, if only for the incredible space. I already have my next reservation booked! I’ve dined at both nearby The Ivy Chelsea Garden and Chiltern Firehouse recently, and I thought the food was comparable (if not a bit better at The Ivy because they have an incredible roasted cauliflower and stilton soup). Restaurant Ours should have all the bugs worked out soon and most people don’t go to a restaurant as ravenously hungry as I was.
264 Brompton Road