Pan-Asian Perfection in Notting Hill at Uli.
Pan-Asian restaurant Uli has been a Notting Hill staple since 1997. Originally located on the edgy All Saints Road it has recently moved to the more genteel environs of Ladbroke Road just around the corner from the shopping mecca of Portobello Road as well as being handy for the high street and tube. With Uli having just reopened its foliage-covered winter terrace it seemed like a good to time to visit the restaurant to do a review. On a cool autumn evening as we approached could see the welcome glow of lights through the greenery surrounding the winter terrace. The restaurant was full of happy locals chowing down in what is a sleek modern space with painted white brick and natural limed oak, potted greenery and contemporary art on the walls. We checked out the pan-Asian menu over the zing of a lemony glass of Stelle d’Italia Prosecco. With featured dishes showing Chinese, Thai, Malay and Singaporean influences, Uli offers a mix of Asian ‘greatest hits’ as well as a few surprises. From the Small Bites section of the menu we tried some deliciously light and fragrant prawn and chive Dim Sum dumplings – a perfect way to start the meal. In contrast to the dumplings, next up were some crunchy sticks of asparagus doused in the umami saltiness of black beans, with a hint of ginger and a bit of a kick from the chilli. I could eat a bucket load of these! Crispy calamari were hand-cut, hot out of the fryer and in a well-seasoned batter. It’s a very popular dish found on a lot of menus but these were excellent. We moved onto a bottle of Archères Vermentino 2018, from the Languedoc in the South of France. With a floral nose and a creaminess in the palate, it was a good match for the spiciness of the food. Our main dishes were perfect for the season – substantial, warming and full of flavour. Tender slices of beef came in a chilli rich black bean sauce with crunchy red and green peppers adding texture; and fat and juicy Szechuan chilli prawns, in a light sauce with spring onion and onions, had a deep fragrant heat. A sexy little dish of squishy baby Thai aubergine was cooked with a touch of aniseed in a soy and chilli sauce with some impeccable stir-fried rice on the side. After this feast, we only needed a light dessert. A mochi (rice cake) covered ice cream selection with a few strawberry segments scattered on the plate was a cooling finale to the meal. The jolly locals at the table next to ours kept telling us how ‘consistently good’ Uli is and I have to agree. The menu is flexible, service is friendly, helpful and informed, and it’s a great space so it’s no wonder Uli is popular. So if you are in the neighbourhood you should give it a try.
5 Ladbroke Road
London W11 3PA
020 3141 5878
Looking for something different – we love Bucket – a friendly seafood restaurant in Notting Hill and also recommend UKAI for Japanese food in casual surroundings.