Restaurant Ours, Tom Sellers’ newest opening on the Kensington/Knightsbridge borders, was anointed ‘London’s hottest restaurant’ before it even opened. Talk about high expectations. So does it live up to the hype?
Words: Alexander Larman
Being anointed ‘London’s hottest restaurant’ before you open is something of a mixed blessing. It certainly did the Chiltern Firehouse no harm, but Tom Sellers’ newest opening on the Kensington/Knightsbridge borders, Restaurant Ours, has faced a maelstrom of less good than expected publicity, including a public spat with Fay Maschler over a distinctly unimpressed review from the first couple of weeks of opening. Is this fair, or has Restaurant Ours finally found its feet?
The entrance, sensibly retained from the venue’s former days as once-fashionable nightspot The Collection, still has the glamour that it always had. The space itself is enormous and hugely impressive, but the battalions of staff feel slightly out of place; on a Thursday evening, it isn’t full or buzzy enough to need multiple people on hand. In fact, dare one say it, it feels as if it’s missing something.
The food is something of a mixed bag. Some of the best dishes are the small plates and the starters; a bar snack of jamon croquetas is superb, as is a very fine burrata with perfectly presented sourdough bread. Unfortunately, the main courses let the side down. Sirloin steak is served in tiny squares and doesn’t have the carnivorous kick that it ought to have, and my companion’s veal is a confused mish-mash of expensive ingredients. A side order of ratatouille is simply not very nice. And it costs £17.
In fact, it’s the pricing that feels the most anomalous aspect of the whole experience. Back in the 1990s, there was the first gasp of restaurants charging huge amounts of money, and getting away with it. But Sellers – a hugely talented young chef – isn’t yet a brand name that will have people flocking to Restaurant Ours in breathless anticipation of trying his signature dish.
You could easily spend well over £100 a head here on three courses and a bottle of wine from the (impressive but pricey) list, and given that Bibendum, The Hour Glass and, imminently, Phil Howard’s new restaurant offer some serious competition at considerably lower prices, one wonders if Sellers’ grand vision is going to stay intact, or whether it needs considerable alteration to continue to exist.
264 Brompton Road, Kensington SW3 2AS; 020 7100 2200; restaurant-ours.com
Dinner for two around £250
People-watching on a grand scale in London’s most hyped restaurant
What to eat…
Sticking to the small plates and bar snacks will keep costs down
What to know…
The catwalk entrance was designed by the legendary architect Norman Foster