When I travel, I work with this really awesome trip-planning service I’ll have to discuss in more detail later called Trufflepig. The guys there are into creating tailored, bespoke travel experiences. In any case, they put me on to this site, A Small World, which is where I found out about the restaurant Dock Kitchen.
The story behind Dock Kitchen is really interesting. The chefs, Stevie Parle and Joseph Trivelli, met while at the River Café. But it’s Stevie’s story that was intriguing to me: he started off by going to culinary school in Ireland. And then just travelled all over the world to cook – Tokyo, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Mexico. He’s also spent time at the Spotted Pig in NYC and Moro (also fantastic) in London before the River Café.
The restaurant started off as a series of pop-up supper clubs (apparently they are everywhere out here) called the Moveable Kitchen and now taken up (semi) permanent residence at the Portobello Dock in Ladbroke Grove. The space was very cool, loft-like, and I’m really kicking myself for not taking better pictures.
The cuisine is an homage to the chefs’ global travels. The food is seasonal, with a lunch menu that changes daily and a dinner menu that changes periodically based on inspiration. My eyes grew big when I saw a chaat on the menu, and influences ran from Indian, Sri Lankan, to Lebanese and Italian. Rainbow food – I love it. The chaat, I have to admit was tasty with fresh mangoes, curry leaves and chickpeas, but lacked the characteristic black salt. Lusciously tender octopus simply seasoned with oil and parsley on thick toast was delicious as were the tomatoes with sumac and fresh za’atar.
I have to admit I was a bit disappointed by the rabbit biryani. Biryani is a food I literally grew up on. And I’m (clearly) all for twisting and turning tradition on its head, but the flavors have to be there, have to represent. I just didn’t get this one. The Cornish mackerel with Lebanese freekeh was tasty as was the roasted trout. None of this matters though because the menu has moved on.
The space and food are definitely worth visiting. I think it’s amazing when a restaurant approach is minimalist and comes from a place of passion and inspiration. And their inspiration for menus does run the gamut. The guys there are doing a Claudia Roden (one of my favorite cookbook authors!) series next – wish I could transport myself there just for that one.