Last Updated on November 3, 2019 by Fiona Maclean
Seafood Fest at Bucket, Notting Hill.
I went to review Notting Hill seafood restaurant Bucket just after it opened and really enjoyed its creative, unpretentious and affordable approach. They have just launched a new menu with the aim of bringing more fresh produce into their offer and so it is with a degree of trepidation that I head down to Westbourne Grove for a second visit to Bucket Notting Hille as new doesn’t always mean better! The interior is reassuringly familiar. There is lots of wicker and wood alongside booths strewn with comfortable cushions all put together with a side-order of whitewashed brick walls creating a chic ‘oyster shack’ ambience. With the sea in mind, we ordered a couple of cocktails. A Seaweed Martini was a refreshing blend of Hendrick’s, St Germain, seaweed, sea algae and cucumber with a hint of sweetness from the elderflower and cool vegetal notes from the seaweed. On the bitter side of the street, a Seaside Negroni was a slightly saltier take on the classic Italian favourite, mixing Campari and Gin Mare with olive-infused vermouth. After some excellent warm sourdough and butter, we began our seafood odyssey with a pretty looking plate from the Raw section of the menu. A zingingly citric sea bass ceviche came studded with pomegranate jewels with added flavour edge from grapefruit, red onion, chilli and coriander. From the selection of Small Plates we tried a seriously warming plate of roasted heritage squash, served with a grainy dollop of polenta and chilli oil – a perfect winter’s dish which was both warming and somehow serious. A couple of perfectly cooked baked scallops arrived, they were hot, full of flavour and juicy, enlivened but not overwhelmed by the garlic and parsley and sitting on a bready tomatoey bed. By now we had moved onto wine, a rounded Sauvignon Blanc with honeysuckle notes and a Vinho Verde with flavours of cucumber and elderflower coming through – both a good match with our mains. First up was a Bucket…! full of delicious deep-fried soft-shell crab, baby corn, chilli and spring onion. Hot from the fryer, grease-free, in a great batter and with a hint of heat from the chilli, frankly what’s not to like. It’s very rare to find a fish mixed grill on a menu these days and Bucket’s take on it is generous – a thick tranche of sea bass, delicate flaky plaice and chargrilled salmon served up with a choice of Hollandaise or Bearnaise sauces combine to make this piscine trencherman very happy. Sides of a well-dressed baby gem salad and crisp, dry fries were well executed. After the fish fest we barely needed dessert. Baked plums with mascarpone and toasted almonds had an enticing acidity to accompany the sweetness while a lemon and vodka sorbetto (know to the French as Le Colonel) was refreshing. The Bucket team also run an ‘Oyster Hour’, offering £1 oysters every day from 4-7 pm on weekdays and 4-6 pm on weekends with any bottle of wine, cocktail or bucket of beers and I’m planning on getting there early enough to try it out! Seafood is my thing and for a relaxed evening out with lots of interesting dishes to try, Bucket is definitely my go-to joint in Notting Hill.
Bucket is located at 107 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London, W2 4UW