First Floor

First Floor


0.5 miles
186 Portobello Road, Tube: Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, W11 1LA

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Thu, 08/04/2016 - 15:08 -- Administrator
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Atmospheric is the word for Portobello's First Floor private dining rooms. A step off the vibrant Portobello Road, you find yourself in what might remind you of the attic of Miss Havisham, the mad spinster from Great Expectations. The room's floor-to-ceiling windows soar upwards to original plasterwork and an ancient glass chandelier; candles flicker and wax collects in misshapen sculptures beneath, as if they have been burning untouched for months; at a central table a group of women chatter delightedly over a lazy meal. You feel as though you have stumbled into a party that has been swinging for decades, and you want to join in.

Above the restaurant are the private rooms. These boast sweeping ceilings, distressed paintwork and decaying auction furniture. They have hosted Darcey Bussell's birthday party and launches for Diageo, and the atmosphere inside is haunting and wickedly fun. The First Floor menu offers an eclectic selection of British dishes (guinea fowl, pan-fried mackerel, Aylesbury duck) and also nods to the exotic, with wokfried prawns with mango, chicken and calamari. It gives the impression of having grown organically from the chef's favourite dishes, and is extremely reasonable at £20 for three courses or £15 for two. I enjoyed pan-fried scallops with rocket and basil foam, while my guest chose the Thai fish cakes, which tickled with lime and spice. For the main event my guest chose the wonderful roast lamb, which was just how roasts should be - meaty, fatty and moreish. We finished with the tarte tatin and vanilla pod ice cream (tart and creamy), and the chocolate fondant, collapsing inside with delicious chocolate ooze. We drank a light Sancerre as we indulged.

The food was fantastic, but the wonderful thing about First Floor is that it defies categorisation. Punky waitresses glide between the white-clothed tables, sloaney types sit beside young parents and amorous couples, Phantom of the Opera plays, followed by the ET theme, then the music goes off, forgotten. It was so fun, and the food so good, that I've already booked my birthday meal here - there is surely no better accolade than that.
+2First Floor
Opening Hours:
Mon:12pm-4pm, 7pm-11pm
Tues:12pm-4pm, 7pm-11pm
Weds:12pm-4pm, 7pm-11pm
Thurs:12pm-4pm, 7pm-11pm
Fri:12pm-4pm, 7pm-11.30pm
Sat:12pm-4pm, 7pm-11.30pm