Dishes are quite recognisably James Knappett and while he clearly draws inspiration from the rich heritage of one of the most impressive CVs of the industry, there's a style and philosophy that has clarity on the plate and a consistency through the individual menu as well as menus over time.
Some dishes are familiar, and what is simply described as 'Pig' means an enticing bowl of pork crackling to scoop up scallop roe, though even this has changed up from previous visits, in both plating and design, a function of natural evolution. Others we haven't seen before: 'Sole' sees more roe, whipped and served with a cake of bread in brown butter, mixing beautifully the crumbly textures and richness of the latter with the airy sea fresh delicacy of the former.
There's more of an old favourite in the chicken skin with bacon jam, with everyone asking if you can buy pots of the jam it's so good. And if Jim's Jam weren't enough (sorry James), his pasta is sublime, shaming many a 'genuine' Italian restaurant. Add a shave of truffle and it's a little bowl of heaven, definitely leaving you wanting more. A beautiful piece of beef with celeriac and smoked bone marrow with horseradish is the final hot savoury, then the much lauded Burrata follows before no less than four desserts.
A yoghurt ice cream with mandarin freshens the palate before a rhubarb compote with fromage frais ice cream arrives in a beautiful red textured bowl, and it's worth noting how exquisite all the plates are, giving a visual treat, stimulating the desire to eat before you've even picked up your cutlery. But on desserts, it's a ginger and roasted apple cake with crispy ginger that again delivers another perfect taste experience.
Most agree how special the food is at The Kitchen Table. Even the professional critics have had a tough time finding fault with it, instead reserving their scorn for the public at large, appalled that they should be forced to sit next to their readership. On our visit, everyone around the table seemed appreciative, respectful and well behaved.
What James & Sandia have created with Bubbledogs/The Kitchen Table is special and unique. For a restaurant that is hardly out of the maternity ward, it's surprisingly mature yet maintains a freshness and sparkle throughout the meal. You leave thinking this is what good food is about, already wanting to return. Finally you marvel at how calm the kitchen is, so perfectly orchestrated that even talk between chefs is at a minimum, and if you're expecting to hear profanities, you're certainly in the wrong place, for James, Sandia and the whole team are a world class act.
All of this means that in our view, Bubbledogs Kitchen Table is the best new restaurant opening of 2012 and already competing in the category for the best restaurant in London period, it really is that good.