I had heard of Casa Cruz at some point and added it to my constantly evolving list of restaurants that I want to try. During a business meeting recently, someone said that they lived across from it and loved it so I started considering it as an option for dinner with our friends Richard and Christina. The issue was the dinner would be following an afternoon match at Wembley so Notting Hill wasn’t ideal. But when I was brainstorming with Richard, he suggested Casa Cruz, and since I had mentioned it to Stewart that very morning, I felt it was a sign and booked it.
Wearing something that was Wembley appropriate as well as snazzy NH fitting posted a minor challenge but why not wear leather pants (aka trousers) for both?
We arrived a bit before our friends, which allowed us to quickly change shoes and make ourselves more presentable. The restaurant is split between the ground floor and the upstairs bar area where they also have some dining tables and where we sat after a cozy drink by their fireplace (yeah, April and it was still cold). Their cocktail list is diverse and interesting and the drinks were tasty.
What we ate:
Salad: we shared this salad with raw artichokes, avocado, rocket, grapefruit, almonds and parmesan as Richard had tried it a couple of weeks before whilst having dinner with a friend and said it was nice and large enough for all of us to share. We replaced the rocket with green leaves as Richard is more keen (I am becoming so British!) but they forgot the grapefruit and had to take it back. It was a nice salad but a bit goopy and lumpy and the avocado was more of a sauce than chunks. Nice but didn’t blow us away.
Sea bream carpaccio: with pickled shallots, lime and a small dose of chilies (we hoped for more). Very good quality fish and nicely sliced. A fresh and good starter.
The main courses are primarily grilled fish and meats served with sides.
Roast cod: perfectly cooked, flaky and delicious.
Grilled cote du boeuf: the three of them shared the 1 kg grams steak while I had the fish and stole some slices of their beef. We had a bit of a debate on how we wanted the meat cooked as Cristina liked it more rare than the boys. The quality of the meat was very good and even the bloodier pieces were tender and tasty.
Sides: we ordered loads of sides as we wanted to try everything:
- Humita spiced corn: this was a corn pudding and they brought it even though we had just asked about it. We didn’t love it, too lumpy and not really spiced.
- Roast domino potatoes: nice squares of thin potatoes in the oven.
- Roast cauliflower with parsley and capers. This side along with the potatoes were our favourites. The cauliflower was well roasted and the creamy sauce was nice.
- Broccoli: with tomatoes, chillies and almonds. Once again, we couldn’t taste any chilies despite the description. It was ok but not wow.
Chocolate gateau with dulce de leche: we expected ice cream with the cake but it was just a slice of cake with a barely identifiable smear of dulce de leche so we ordered a scoop of the dulce de leche ice cream, which came affogato in Frangelico. The ice cream was much better than the cake which could have been richer.
Passion fruit soufflé: the best dessert striking a perfect balance of sour and sweet.
Petit fours: we couldn’t resist and ordered primarily because of the dulce de leche truffles which were good. The bowl also had some passion fruit pate de fruit (ok) and an underwhelming dark chocolate hazelnut brittle.
In sum: a good option for a nice night out in Notting Hill. The restaurant has a high-end mixed with Vegasslightly reminiscent of a strip club, a lot of gold and mirrors but still pretty, if that makes any sense?
123 Clarendon Rd, London W11 4JG