Flat Three, Holland Park: restaurant review
Read our review of Flat Three, a pared-back basement restaurant in Holland Park with Korean, Japanese and Scandinavian influences. Quirky touches like wood ants with sashimi are balanced by classic combinations such as wild strawberries and vanilla ice-cream. Plus, meet the chef.
In a nutshell
New stylish Korean/Scandi/Japanese restaurant in Holland Park.
Who’ s cooking
Head chef is Aussie Pavel Kanja who’s worked at Wabi, Roka and Nobu (see meet the chef, below).
The two, seven-course tasting menus, one of which is vegetarian, are the focus, but you can also order small and larger plates to share. We tried the non-veggie menu, which also includes snacks of little dumplings and quail. Choose from a carefully-matched mix of wines and sake with each dish or non-alcoholic juices and tonics such as green tea apple juice and the more challenging birch sap.
Japanese baby turnip with fresh sancho (rare outside Asia) is a visual treat as well as a palate freshener. The dish that will have everyone talking is Australian kingfish sashimi, because of the accompanying wood ants. Foraged in Kent, they have a sharp, citrussy flavour. (Unlike at Copenhagen’s Noma, where ants are also served, these are not served alive). Diver-caught scallop with samphire and scented mayweed, and dry anchovy velouté is a highlight, as is runebery cake (made with almonds and shaped like a canelé) with wild strawberries and vanilla ice cream. Sea buckthorn sorbet and dandelion coffee is the love-it-or-hate-it dessert, with its creamy but sour tones.
What we’ll try next time
Lamp rump with miso and mustard leaf piccalilli on the sharing plates menu sounds good, as does a side of sea kale kimchi.
What’s the room like
This corner site on Holland Park Avenue has a very discreet entrance, with stairs down to the dining room. The first thing you see inside is a large open kitchen. The room is a stylish mix of bespoke and vintage dark-wood furniture with Japanese and Danish influences. The room is spacious and comfortable; for the cosiest seating, choose one of the alcove booths. On our visit the 80s music was slightly at odds with the sleek, soothing neutral-toned décor.
What we love
Juliana Kim Moustakas gave up her job in the City to team up with Pavel, and their quiet passion for the project is obvious and infectious. All the waiters were friendly knowledgeable and relaxed.
The restaurant gets its name from Juliana’s home address (flat three) where the team used to meet to hatch plans for the restaurant before the site was ready.
June 2015 - http://flatthree.london
meet the chef: Pavel Kanja
The menu at Flat Three takes a different approach to Japanese food in London by using the majority of locally sourced and house made ingredients. I change the menu daily, to encourage the use of the freshest ingredients and to motivate creativity. Our intention for the restaurant is to be approachable - comfortable yet interesting.
The best thing on my menu is short rib with oyster sauce.
My most-used cook book is Michel Roux’s Desserts because I have had it for 20 years, and its recipes are always consistent.
My favourite 15-minute supper to make at home is smoked tofu salad:
Use wild rocket, smoked tofu, lemon juice, olive oil, white onion and mint. Grill the smoked tofu and simply toss it a together with a little salt…done
My guilty pleasure is a toasted salami and cheese sandwich.
Never trust a chef who doesn’t care what the customer thinks.
I love eating out at Lyle's because the menu changes often enough to keep it interesting. Everything’s brilliant, including the cheese on toast.
A place I love that not many people know about is Crate Brewery in Hackney.
If you gave me a tenner I‘d spend it on lamb biryani, £6 home delivered.
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