One could easily think I’ve become a spokesperson for the Rushmore Group. I’ve harped on about Redhook and Giant Robot, and now, as I’m about to unleash my thoughts on Tiny Robot, (Giant Robot’s little sister in the west) I will forgive you for thinking my posts are sponsored.
After weeks of planning, the lovely Miss L and I finally met up, ready to enter the shabby chic realm of the Robot on Westbourne Grove. L had browsed the cocktail menu all day, so you can understand the excitement that was in the air.
London restaurants have gone all New York lately. It’s all about exposed brickwork, tiles, low-lit lamps and warehouse amour, to signal that the Big Smoke can do Meatpacking District cool too. Tiny Robot is of course no exception to this new design rule.
Don’t get me wrong, I like this vibe, but it’s amusing to see every other restaurant throwing the white table cloths away, introducing mismatching cutlery and serving wine in tumbler glasses. Goodbye stiff upper lip eateries.
The first thing I notice when I step in from the cold October night is the perfect lighting. Dark, but not so you can’t read the menu (step forward Pizza East), and with Venetian blinds protecting you from the outside, it feels like a haven from the less-than enticing restaurants gracing the Bayswater side of Westbourne Grove.
The clientele is young and good-looking, clearly Notting Hill’s answer to Shoreditch fash pack. So far, so good. The cocktails are a hit too. Queens, is one helluva good drink and L’s Mojito is very impressive too. Splendid cocktails – tick.
The food is a different story. While I was wowed by the food at Giant Robot, I’m less impressed with Tiny. Slightly overcooked giant prawns in chilli and garlic, a greasy slice of cotechino Modena sausage with salsa verde on a bed of undercooked lentils with carrots and pancetta, does not send my taste buds in ecstasy.
The burrata with grilled vegetables and a delicious homemade pesto is however very good, and the cumin and orange flavoured lamb meatballs with tomato sauce a fine choice too. The meatballs seem to be Tiny’s strength and I can definitely see myself developing a craving for these.
There are plenty of other dishes I would like to try for my next visit (of course I’ll be coming back!). The cheese and salumi platters or the fresh salads, plus the seared tuna will definitely be on my must-have list.
For dessert, the chocolate and almond torta with vanilla ice cream was a real treat, and gone in sixty seconds. However, the Baked Alaska is what you should go for if you want to give your body a serious carb shock, and also enjoy a little spectacle of flambéed meringue.
This time we didn’t have the energy to check out the downstair’s member’s bar, The Starland Social Club, but I’ll get there eventually. If anything excites me, it’s the latest private members’ bars: so “exclusive” – often so disappointing.
I know the lovely Miss L and I will come back to the Robot: the prices are decent, the staff is helpful and the music my cup of tea. I’m just hoping the kitchen will sort out itself by then.
Note: Our dinner was covered by Tiny Robot.