47 Hereford Road
Notting Hill has just got lucky with the opening of The Commander on Hereford Road. If you love high quality food whilst you’re eating out and when you kick off your shoes at home, then The Commander could well be for you. Taking food that little bit further than the average eatery, this place boasts an oyster bar, a bistro restaurant and, incase you can’t get enough of a good thing, a deli stationed next door. So you can eat well at The Commander and then take home a little of what you fancy to rustle up in your own kitchen.
The bistro-style restaurant is headed up by Robert Staegemann (formerly of Vivat Bacchus), and looks suitably swanky with booth-style seating deep enough to get lost in. The art deco lighting, salubrious décor and the display cabinet full of seafood, leaves you feeling as though you’ve just walked into an incredibly stylish American diner. The menus hint at American tendencies too, just through of the sheer amount of choice. With John Norris of Pimlico on hand as the restaurant’s resident fishmonger, there is of course a wealth to choose from in terms of seafood. The bar menu offers up dishes that are easy to guzzle, with must-have oysters on offer, whilst the bistro menu offers up a lengthier list of steaks, fish dishes and even a few alternatives for “the not so crustacea inclined”.
After finishing off a very decently mixed Virgin Mary, we decided on the dressed crab to start along with the goats cheese salad. The salad hit the spot for my dining partner, who was after a lighter bite, whilst the crab was thoroughly enjoyable – very fresh, and accompanied by two juicy claws to contend with.
We both tucked into steaks for our main dishes, which were by the way, quite simply enormous. If you’re the kind of person that plans your number of courses in anticipation of being able to fit pudding in, then you might prefer to bypass the starters here. Lovely as they were, if you’re choosing a steak dinner for your main dish here, it does its job and fills you up. Besides filling us up, our steaks tasted pretty good too, covered with Stilton butter, which gave the dish a savoury kick. Our side orders of butter beans with almonds, beetroot and green beans did well to help us on the way to our five-a-day, but the steak took up most of the room it has to be said.
Needless to say, pudding didn’t get a look-in after our magnificent main course portions, but we managed a coffee, and began to fully appreciate the support of the huge booth we were in. Locals and the after hours work brigade started filling the place up as we finished our early dinner. With three function rooms upstairs at The Commander, local business is certainly getting to know about the restaurant too. If you’re lucky enough to be able to move after your steak dinner, you can always pop into the deli next door, even if it is only for a bunch of flowers. Fresh and smoked fish & meats fill up this cute space, which is also brimming with bunches of beautiful floral arrangements from florist Hayford & Rhodes. Notting Hill has always fallen easily on the eye with its lush little boutique shops and pastel colourscapes – The Commander has gone one further and caught the attention of people’s stomachs too.
(Please note that 9.30pm is currently the cut off point for ordering food). A 3-course meal for two with wine will set you back by around £80.00.
The Commander: 47 Hereford Rd, London, W2 5AH. Tel: 020 7229 1503.
Reviewer: Helenka Bednar