The world’s longest-running musical revue, Beach Blanket Babylon invites its audience to “follow Snow White as she takes a fast-paced journey around the world in search of her Prince Charming. Along the way she encounters a large group of figures from popular culture, who together perform satirical songs.” Given that we’re headed to a restaurant of the same name, we were excited for what lay ahead…
Mindful of this, we marched up from Notting Hill Gate Tube, with the warm reminder of summer months returning; past Portobello Road and every crescent clutching onto this year’s pink and white blossom as bright young yellow and green leaves are bursting through in their place.
You can imagine Mary Poppins floating down from her cloud and movie stars bumping into bookshop owners.
Al fresco diners chattering as they finish their bellinis in the late afternoon glow next to the vintage street lamps sparkling outside the N11 mansion house. Like the wardrobe from the Chronicles of Narnia, the bold white entrance door hides something theatrical warming up behind.
Inside you find a country house drawing room divided into intimate sections surrounding a bustling bar of maestro mixologists flaring martinis. Multiple beating fireplaces illuminate every wall accompanying ornate armchairs for snacks and storytelling.
Upstairs there’s a mirrored ballroom with 2 rooms leading off to a supporting bar and a private dining area. Downstairs a cavernous crypt-like dining area for intimate parties can choose to pick or feast.
We enjoyed the climb up to the mezzanine turret at the back of the building, resembling Snow White’s castle quarters or a chapel, with light flooding the surrounding arches and yet more fireplaces.
We decided on a couple of lighter starters from the menu as we had already had our eyes on some of the heartier mains and the first two dishes did not disappoint – chargrilled tiger prawns with pickled mooli and chilli sugar.
Beautifully plated and strikingly vibrant colours contrasting against the dark plate, the prawns were perfectly cooked, the flavors were fresh, and had that tasty touch of chilli that compliments seafood so well.
The second starter was beef carpaccio, rocket, parmesan, seasoned with a wonderfully light truffle oil, and a melt-in-the-mouth texture. It disappeared in a flash and our palates were now suitably prepped.
We shared the crispy duck for mains, with jasmine rice, red onion, orange salad, and a honey and chilli glaze. Alongside chargrilled lamb cutlets, minted yoghurt, red unions and pistachios. Truffle fries tempted us enough to stock up on a side – where there’s truffle, there’s a way!
Sometimes for me duck can be hit and miss, I love it when it comes crispy and I had no reason to fear here, the duck came out exactly to my liking – crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, with a deliciously sweet sticky glaze.
Likewise, the lamb arrived beautifully stacked, the cutlets on a bed of mint yoghurt, red unions and decorated with micro-herb seedlings, rosemary and fresh chili. Pink like the blossom outside had been, juicy as the leaves, and liberally sauced to complete with the rice that came with it.
The truffle chips were just as tasty as they looked. Salty, crispy and full of truffle tastiness. Even though we were very full by this time we still managed to squeeze in some desserts.
We went all-out chocolate and ordered the chocolate orange mousse served with vanilla bean cream, and chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream.
The mousse was a darker and richer version of what you might be used to but when combined with the lighter vanilla bean cream and berries on top, it was very well balanced.
The chocolate fondant had a light sponge on the outside with amazing gooey, runny chocolate on the inside. What is there not to like?!
After dinner we were treated to a tour of the ballroom. This area is available for private dining events and masked balls. Walking into the room you instantly feel like you are being taken into a very glamorous world where gold, red velvet, beautiful vintage furniture and chandeliers surround you. With such a magical setting, it is a perfect place for a party and I am sure these walls have a few interesting stories to tell…
Beach Blanket Babylon – Notting Hill
45 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2AA