Gold is an uber-cool Notting Hill restaurant sitting beneath a pavement-to-roof moody mural of two painted eyes watching out onto Portobello Road’s pretty parade of shops. The mural is the work of Portuguese street artist Vhils, and it’s literally called ‘Eye Contact’. And it seems Gold is a spot worth having your eyes wide open. Apparently, it’s opening week saw the likes of Jourdan Dunn, Olympia Campbell, and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice. On our visit, barely a table was unoccupied – you generally need to book weeks in advance – though this meant that the service was a bit hit and miss.
The inside space is three-storeys high and there’s an outdoor terrace on Portobello Road. The downstairs area with its palm trees and glass ceiling brings a taste of the tropics inside. Beyond the moodily lit bar is the plant-filled garden room featuring exposed brick floors, lanterns hanging off the greenery and a retractable roof – all the ingredients necessary to create a very vibey West London hangout, especially with this summer’s record high temperature levels. It all feels very lush.
While many come to Gold for the scene, the food shouldn’t be overooked. Ex-River Café chef Theo Hill’s menu is an eclectic mix of modern European dishes, full of playful twists and surprises. The kitchen is open and everything is cooked in wood ovens, or over flame, so expect a lot of chargrilling, roasting and braising. The result? Oily, flame-grilled sharing dishes, which are all very colourful, generously-sized and with a solid veggie offering.
To start, we shared a couple of salads: Feta, cherries, radicchio, shallots, balsamic (£13) and Italian baby spinach, tropea onion, olives, roast garlic vinaigrette, pangrattato (£9). Though pricey for a couple of small salad plates, each were abundant, fresh and bountiful.
The radicchio was well dressed, with a high quality balsamic vinegar to finish. Visually, it was a rich red bouquet of leaves – more generous on the leaves than the other ingredients though.
The salty finish of the fried breadcrumbs on the green salad, meanwhile, made this plate totally moreish and a nice counterpoint to the vegetables that followed.
From the Vegetables, we went for Chargrilled hispi cabbage, chimichurri, chilli, breadcrumbs (£9). The layers of cabbage were tender but maintained a good bite – testament to the perfection of this type of cabbage for a good chargrill. Whilst the chimichurri provided plenty of flavour, the dish was a little oily – which seems to be a common theme of the food there.
We also ordered the Wood roasted pale aubergine, chilli, garlic (£13). Generously topped with dried garlic, the dish had a good chilli finish but again an oily finish. A (vegan) creamy addition would have been welcome – perhaps some tahini?
Probably my favourite dish of the evening were the Wood roasted sweet potatoes and chimichurri (£9). These had been cooked on the open flame enhancing the sweetness of the oozing interior to the maximum and leaving a melt-in-the-mouth finish. Pure gold.
Gold is an all round sensory experiences, as much a feast for the eyes and mouth. They seem to do nothing by halves. If you’re after a taste of Notting Hill coolness proper, head here.
Gold, 95-97 Portobello Rd, London W11 2QB