The restaurant: Bucket, 107 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London, W2 4UW
Bucket is a Notting Hill seafood restaurant that prides itself on serving up sustainably-sourced, high-quality seafood. The concept behind Bucket is that the food is served by the bucketful and, though only a small portion of the menu arrives in buckets, the sentiment remains: food is prepared, served and enjoyed simply. Any seafood you’re in the mood for is probably on the menu amongst the squid steak, langoustines, crayfish and prawn offerings. It’s open for lunch and dinner seven days a week with it being worth noting Oyster House (4-7pm on weekdays and 4-6pm on weekends) where it’s quid per oyster when you order a bottle or bucket of beers. The decor evokes a rustic, beach-house feel, complete with soft lighting, comfy wicker, pillowed seating, and balmy Café del Mar chill-out music. The only thing missing was the sea view.
We started with cocktails: a grapefruit and whisky Ginger Monkey that was sharp, dry and citrusy for me and a clean, fresh seaweed and cucumber martini for my pal. Wines start from £24.50 a bottle, with almost all being available by the glass and the house red and white available by the half litre. We were recommended a bottle of French Baron de Badassière Picpoul de Pinet to accompany our mains, an aromatic, citrusy white.
The options on the Bucket List are bites, small plates, plates, buckets, and boards gives the restaurant a large scope to serve a good variety of fish dishes. Mains feature Tuscan mussel and bean soup, a fish pie, whole sea bass, and sandwiches: the classic fish finger, halibut and Savoy cabbage, and the most decadent-sounding toastie I’ve heard of — lobster, prawn and cheese.
Cockles were brilliant for nibbling on, their delicate sweetness heightened by the red peppers served with tiny chunks of chorizo that added a smokiness to the dish. We also shared a tuna tartare that tasted unadulteratedly fresh and delicious. Rather than ordering a main, we chose three small buckets of whitebait, calamari and mussels. Buckets come in large and small sizes and you choose based on whether you’re having it for starter, main course or tapas-style. Whitebait with a squeeze of lemon was crispy and satisfyingly salty. The calamari was good: firm without being on the chewy side. We did regret ordering two deep-fried dishes between two of us but were keen to try both. Mussels come with four sauce options: lobster bisque and brandy; ‘Nduja, herbs and cream; coconut, chilli and lemongrass, and the classic marinière. We were craving the classic which arrived in a larger version of the small bucket, a generous portion between two of us. Don’t forget to order fries and fresh bread for dipping.
Food in buckets, combined with plenty of small plate choices give you ample options for grazing and sharing while mains satisfy any cravings for the fish classics. If you’re hankering after a seafood-by-the-sea escape without leaving the city, Bucket will bring that experience to life.
To book, visit BucketRestaurant.com or visit 020 3146 1156
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