Crib de Rib restaurant is THE restaurant of the moment with its speciality in ribs (of course) and vibrant crowd- you won’t find a better offer this week. Head down to Kensington and get lost in the debonair air of this charming and welcoming establishment.
Crib de Rib
In three words: Funky, Debonair, Delicious
The Lowdown: One might be tempted into thinking, from the name, that Crib de Rib might be some East Laandaan hotspot for ghetto-style ribs, where the general patron is attired in hipster get-up with the odd ironic gold medallion thrown in. But actually this tongue-in-cheek title belies a very alluring and ultra-cool venue that offers a quality dining and cocktail experience with no pretension whatsoever.
You may have heard of it – you may have even wandered past – but if that was pre-September then you’re in for a treat. It underwent a very successful and glam re-launch with a brand new contemporary menu and a truly exciting cocktail list, raising it far higher than the average rib joint.
Location: On a charming street in very well-to-do Kensington area – wander past a series of gorgeous mansions and come to a cluster of brightly lit eateries ready to seduce your palate…
The Occasion: This is comfort food done well – head here when you want to indulge. Downstairs is a great place to hold a party – intimate little booths combined with a private bar and long tables for communal conviviality, as well as a projector screen if wanted. When we were at CDR we saw a great array of guests, including a dining father and daughter, a group of four laughing mates, and an older couple of ladies who were tucking into pork ribs while their Chanel bags rested on the table next to the BBQ sauce.
Decor: It’s kind of a funky rock-star New York brasserie in the 1940s, with glamour oozing from the soft lighting, bling chandeliers and golden recliners. The blue neon-lit bar glows with Greenwich cool, and we loved the ultra-comfy leather seats. An eye for detail is evident, down to the egg-shaped salt and pepper shakers, weighted cutlery and beautiful glassware.
Atmosphere: There’s a cool members club feel to CDR – upstairs is more sophisticated, while downstairs is the place to party, and the curtained, secluded rooms are a great touch. There’s an intimacy about the place that is still welcoming, and don’t be surprised if you immediately feel at home and start chatting to your waiter like old friends.
Culinary Concept: Ribs, my friend! This is BBQ heaven, but they’ve done the smart thing with starters and provided some lighter options of salads and seafood to ensure the palate doesn’t get meat-ennui. The gratifyingly concise menu consists of five starters, five salads, five meat dishes, oh and two fish if you’re swayed that way (we were not).
What we tried:
We decided that, since we had a meat onslaught coming our way, something less heavy to begin might be a good idea. The Yellowfin Tuna Tartare was a tantalising shimmering disc of fresh pink cubes with little specks of sesame seeds strewn throughout which provided a delightful crunch and texture. Our Chilli Squid was some of the best we’ve tried – crisp tendrils with a light batter just nuzzling the squid (neither greasy nor rubbery), and a thick unctuous ‘Cribelicious’ sauce that was almost like a chilli jam.
On to the ribs, and we simply had to experience both the beef and the pork. Each are marinated for 24 hours, and boy can you tell. A gargantuan slab of meat arrived like a rocky outcrop on the white dish, slathered with the sheen of a deep ruby-esque sauce. The pork was on the bone, just on the right side of meaty and fatty so that we could pick it with our fingers and really get involved.
It’s a lot of animal, so we were glad it was served with four different sauces to break up the flavour. Honey was a golden pop of sweetness, while the BBQ gave a rich smokey flavour that we kept returning to. The meal was absolutely incredible – we took it slow and powered through a surprising amount of the food. Well, it should be a meat marathon and not a sprint.
Luckily we left room for something sweet, and ordered two of the more unusual options. I can’t say I’ve been presented with such a vivid green dessert before but evidently I’ve been missing out, because the Basil Pannacotta was the epitome of palate-cleansing indulgence – it tasted like the sensation of sticking your nose into a fresh plant, and had just enough custard-wobble. The Banana Triple Cheese Cheesecake had all the biscuit base crunch of the best in New York, and the yellow fruit was in no means overwhelming, just adding a hint of flavour to the luxurious vanilla cream cheese. Absolutely magnificent.
For next time: We feel like we might have sampled the best of the menu, although the Crab Tian with gazpacho sauce for a starter was very tempting, and Red Snapper served with soy, miring and Pak Choi sounds like an Asian taste adventure.
Veggie delights: With a name like ‘Crib de Rib’ there was always going to be more farm-animal on the menu, but there are still some interesting options for veggies in the form of four fabulous salads, including a Quinoa and Pomegranate with Feta, and a Poached Quails Egg with Asparagus and Beetroot.
Best of the booze: Crib de Rib have a very well considered and exciting cocktail list showcasing their own inventions which provide some great twists on classics. We went for the signature Bitches’ Martini – a refreshing and light combination of gin and apple juice with the sweetness of elderflower and the just-picked morning freshness of basil. The ‘Round Midnight’ was a stronger, bitter take on an espresso martini – bourbon gave it a real kick, while the espresso did wonders to perk us up. The bar tenders are also happy to make any other requests, and we enjoyed a fabulous Manhattan and a well-crafted Old Fashioned.
Fun Fact: The menu comes courtesy of Rafal Kostecki from La Bodega Negra, while the cocktails are created by acclaimed mixologist Bastien Dupuy. A fine team creating fine results!
Overall: Crib de Rib has all the appearance of a chic and designer establishment while not being overly styled in aesthetics. Similarly, the food is brilliant quality without being flouncy or fussy. There’s something very right they’ve got here – we felt all the welcome of returning to a favourite spot, even though we’d never been before. And there’s definitely a hint of rockstar-cool to enjoy as well.
1-3 Gloucester Rd, London SW7 4PP
020 7581 0022