REVIEW: POMONA'S, NOTTING HILL

(c) Steven Joyce

(c) Steven Joyce

By Jodi Bartle

As a long time resident (of the cheaper outlying bit) of Notting Hill, I have seen many restaurants come and go.

Pomona’s was once a gastro pub - all dark interiors, cosy, with a nice line in sausages and mash and something to do with oysters.  

We went a few times, mostly because they had a kid’s creche so you could quaff red wine while someone else let your kids watch a DVD upstairs. But a few years ago, Pomona’s moved in with something of a Californian swagger.

Gone went the old pub vibe - away-with-you went the cosy little booths and Victorian gin palace feel for a fresh take on Hereford Road dining.

So Pomona’s, named after the Californian city, gutted the place and moved the sunshine in, as much as you can bring it into this oftentimes greyish Londontown.

The restaurant-come-bar come-events space is all pale wood, Miami-esque pastels, creams and greys, with vintage mirrors and an outdoor terrace for al fresco eating.

You cannot recognise it for the place it once was.

As a very keen Antipodean who has been a few times for brunch with the kids, the idea of light-filled eating spaces, full of colourful comfortable banquettes, primary brights and expanses of glass, with a nice line in eggy morning things - well, Pomona’s makes me very pleased indeed.

So - to the delights of early summer anticipatory dining, then! On Thursday night, the restaurant celebrated the arrival of new head chef Ruth Hansom and the opening of its new Summer Garden with a riotous display of the kitchen’s talents.

There was a steady stream of very excellent canapés, based on the theme of earth, land and sea. This translated into a lot of trout and eel numbers which freaked me out a little bit as I have a nonsensical fear of fishy things, but my husband assures me they were excellent.

(c) Steven Joyce

(c) Steven Joyce

I loved the honey truffle choux pastry balls and a tiny little cauliflower, date and almond bowl which sat in a light foam, and an asparagus and pea puree bite.

There were also crusty little ham croquettes and a gorgeous bubbled beetroot wafer with goats cheese - all sailing by at frequent intervals and disappearing very fast. Sorry about that.

The new outdoor garden space was filled with the well-heeled and the four-legged: there were dogs aplenty, happy to snaffle up discarded canapé crumbs.

The sparkling drinks were from Nyetimber, a very elegant English wine producer, and there were two summery cocktails being mixed at the bar by a bearded award-winning mixologist.

For me, he made a lime and basil bellini, green grassy and tart, while my husband drank the matcha mule in between eyeing up the canapé tray. It was both worthy (matcha) and wicked (everything else), which is, of course, a marvellous combination.

All the guests were chatty because nothing enables the social small talk like free-flowing booze, and the evening was warm and bright.

My husband and I, free of kids and babies and dogs and geckos, sampling and quaffing and standing in the sun, were very happy to be there.

Welcome, new head chef Ruth Hansom - you're off to a wonderful start.  

Pomona’s Restaurant + Bar | 47 Hereford Rd | London W2 5AH

@pomonaslondon.