The Terrace on Holland Street

33C Holland St, London, W8 4LX, United Kingdom

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The Terrace re-opened in May 2013 under new ownership, with James Kelly as the head chef. James is originally from Ireland and first worked at The Mermaid, a seafood restaurant in County Clare, where he washed dishes and then worked up the ranks to become a sous chef. He studied at Westminster Catering College and then worked at The Rose & Crown, a gastropub in Highgate, before moving to The Tea Palace in Notting Hill as head chef. He then worked at Kensington Square Kitchen at the end of 2009 with co-owner Sara Adams prior to opening the Terrace.

The short (just a couple of dozen bottles) wine list ranged in price from £19.50 to £55, with a median price of £30 and an average mark-up of 3.3 times retail price. Example wines were Firesteed Pinot Gris 2010 at £40 for a wine that you can find in the shops for £12, and Chateau Capbern Gasqueton 2008 at £55 for a wine that retails at £19.  You can bring your own wine for a corkage charge of £19.50 at the time of writing.

Soda bread, served warm, was made from scratch; although this is not my favourite type of bread, it was good, not too dense as some soda bread can be (14/20). Seasonal asparagus was prettily presented, served with crumbled hen’s egg, with parsley and hazelnut vinaigrette. The asparagus was cooked precisely, though with the egg the overall effect was just a little dry and needed more dressing (14/20). Better was an intensely flavoured pea soup garnished with pea shoots and goat curd, served with excellent broad bean croquettes. The soup really tasted of peas and was lightly seasoned, letting the core flavour really come through, and the croquettes provided a nice textural balance (easily 15/10).

Morel, asparagus and Cheddar tart with cream sauce and herb salad was not a classical tart, but rather two slabs of pastry sandwiching the vegetables. The pastry was delicate, the asparagus good and the morels pleasant if a little ungenerous in quantity (14/20).  Sea bass was served with crab croquette, sauce vierge and yet more asparagus. The fish was just a bit too crispy on the outside, though the flesh was not overcooked. There was the right amount of lemon in the sauce vierge to provide freshness without being too sharp, though the tomatoes had limited flavour (13/20).

Apple tart had fruit that was cooked about right, still having some firmness of texture without being too hard, and the pastry with it was properly cooked through, served with vanilla ice cream that needed more vanilla (14/20). A selection of ice creams were made by the kitchen, the star of which was excellent coffee ice cream with real intensity of flavour and smooth texture. Coffee was also unusually good.

The bill came to £65 a head, including corkage and service. This seemed to me reasonable for what was a very enjoyable meal. Service from our waiter was excellent, and despite this only being a few weeks after opening the restaurant was packed. It is easy to see why: an appealing menu, careful cooking and good service delivered at a fair price. 

Further reviews: 02nd Nov 2013

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