Impressing Gordon Ramsay is something of a Herculean task (his reality cooking series isn’t called “Hell’s Kitchen” for nothing). Miraculously, it’s a task that Chef Clare Smyth has ticked off her list, having spent 11 years as the formidable chef’s protégée. It’s only natural, then, that someone of Smyth’s calibre would dream of something even bigger than being chef-patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. That dream has now been realized in the form of her very own restaurant: Core by Clare Smyth.
For Smyth, Core by Clare Smyth has been a long time coming. Since beginning her tenure as head chef at Ramsay’s London flagship in 2007, she had tirelessly maintained all three of her Michelin stars — a first for a female British chef. Smyth was also royally recognized for her talents when she was an awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2013.
Following her departure from Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in late 2015, Smyth announced her plans to open her debut solo restaurant. Her highly anticipated restaurant — initially slated to launch in 2016 — finally opened its doors to the charming district of London’s Notting Hill on August 1.
For all the buzz it has been causing, London’s hottest new restaurant is surprisingly simple and relaxed in appearance. Core by Clare Smyth’s modern décor starkly contrasts with the historic Victorian building it is housed in, creating an elegant — and undeniably British — atmosphere. A natural colour palette of green, aubergine, milk, copper and burnished gold reflects Smyth’s emphasis on sustainable British produce; the restaurant serves fresh scallops from the Isle of Mull in Scotland, Colchester crabs and shrimps caught in England’s Morecambe Bay.
From a selection of 10 to 12 evolving dishes crafted by the meticulous Smyth, guests are given a choice of a three-course (£65), five-course (£80) or full tasting menu (£95). There’s also an equally impressive wine list: over 400 fine wines and champagnes, most of which are from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Northern Italy and California.
Besides the 54-seat restaurant (which has already been booked through October), Core by Clare Smyth features an 18-seater cocktail bar that serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. Until an opportunity to fully immerse in the fine dining experience offered by one of the world’s most distinguished chefs presents itself, the bar will have to do.