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Last night I had dinner at Assaggi, a supposed one Michelin star Italian restaurant above the Chepstow Pub in Notting Hill. I was really looking forward to trying this place out for the past few months and booked a week in advance to insure my spot for dins. The restaurant itself is quite small with a dinner seating of about 11 tables. We were the first to arrive for the 7.30 pm slot and the place was empty. Moreover, not that I care so much about décor, but the décor was simple at best. It really feels like you are above a pub, not in a Michelin star rated restaurant. Alas, I don’t care too much about the interior if the food is amazing.

Which it (the food) wasn’t…and here is why.

We were given the menu which is entirely in Italian (not that I mind, nice touch local flavour n all that). The staff ran through all the items with us since our Latin skills were slightly lacking. I found this helpful. I could, however, spot a black truffle in pretty much any language.

I decided to go with the crab with olive oil. And then the veal for my segundo. Others at the table tried the deep fried courgette flower with egg yolk inside and carpacciho (from my semi hazy memory). For their second course they both took to the pork with black truffle.

The courgette flower arrived first. It looked great and was actually quite tasty, especially when you forked it and made the yolk bleed out.

My crab arrived and looked like it had been dumped out of a tuna can onto my plate. I started to eat it and found that I had a very odd taste in my mouth. It was akin to eating a dirty sock (not that I eat dirty socks). I pushed on, convinced that I was somehow missing something. I asked my dinner companions to try it out and they didn’t seem to notice the foul taste. I kept trying and finally conceded to my taste buds and pushed the plate away. When the waitress came to collect the dishes I informed her that the crab had an odd taste to it.

Let this be something to note. I NEVER send dishes back to the kitchen. I actually hate when people are so pompous or arrogant that they somehow take joy in degrading the kitchen. But on this particular occasion I found it impossible to keep my mouth shut. I didn’t complain and degrade the server, simply told her that the flavour was incorrect (much to the chagrin of my companions – sorry!). Let this be a lesson to me to follow the rule of never ordering fish on Mondays.

For the second course I had the veal. At this point my only salvation was that I was getting slightly tipsy on the vino. The veal was average, nothing to write home about. As was the pork with truffle. The truffle was excellent, but then again you could pretty much put truffle on a pickle and I would think it tasted great.

Needless to say, we opted out of dessert and into some grappa to cleanse my pallet of the fishy crab sock taste.

Next time remind me to read the reviews a little more thoroughly and never ever ever order fish on a Monday. Full stop.

Officially revoking their Michelin as of NOW.

Assaggi Restaurant
39 Chepstow Place
Notting Hill, London, W2 4TS
+44 20 7792 9033

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