The restaurant 6 Portland Road opened in March 2016, the creation of Oli Barker, formerly of Terroirs. The head chef is Pascal Wiedemann, who previously cooked at Soif and Terroirs. The establishment is located in a quiet street near Holland Park tube station, and the diners appeared to reflect the affluent clientele of the area, at least on the evening that I visited. The room is quite simple and not very large, with perhaps 40 covers possible at any one time; tables are small and tightly packed. The chairs were also quite small and not very comfortable, doubtless chosen because they looked stylish – proof that every restaurateur should be forced to sit on their own chairs for an evening before reaching a purchasing decision.
There was quite a short menu choice but I found the dishes appealing. The wine list of around 100 labels ranged in price from £20.50 to £195, mostly but not exclusively French. Markups were refreshingly moderate for those used to the excesses of Mayfair. Martin and Anna Arndorfer Gruner Veltliner 2015 was £27.25 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £11, Albert Mann Schlossberg Riesling 2014 was £65 compared to a retail price of £33, and Paje Roagna Barbaresco 2010 was £100 for a wine that will set you back £59 in a shop. Baguette slices were bought in from Boulangerie de Paris, one of the best bread suppliers in London.
Smoked salmon was from Hackney-based Ole Hansen-Lydersen, a Norwegian who uses traditional techniques based on his grandfather’s smoking chamber design. The result is high quality smoked salmon, so although this is a bought-in product, at least they have bought well. It was served with good celeriac remoulade that had a pleasing kick from the mustard used. Something like this is tricky to mark but it was very enjoyable (14/20). A slab of pork and pistachio terrine was served with cornichons (gherkins), whose vinegar from the pickling nicely balanced the richness of the terrine (13/20).
Cornish turbot was from a good-sized 4 kg fish (the larger the turbot, the better the favour as a rule) and was accurately cooked, served with seasonal Jersey Royal potatoes, broad beans, mousserons and broad beans. The vegetables were carefully cooked, the beans properly podded, which is more than can be said for some London restaurants, and the components rested on a pool of nicely made classic beurre blanc sauce (14/20). Red mullet was also properly cooked, served with fennel, grilled tomato, olives and excellent aioli, the latter providing a good foil for the flavour of the fish (14/20).
For dessert, apricots, marscapone and Amaretti biscuits were fine (13/20) but I preferred chocolate mousse with griottines (macerated cherries), almond and crème fraiche. The cherries cut through the richness of the chocolate nicely, the almonds providing a pleasing textural balance (easily 14/20). Coffee was from Allpress in Shoredicth, one of the better London suppliers.
Service was very capable, and we even encountered that rarest of creatures in London, an English waitress. The bill came to £88 a head with a very good bottle of wine. If you shared a modest bottle then a typical all-in cost per head might be around £75. 6 Portland Road is a very enjoyable addition to the west London dining scene.