Three chef talking points from lunch at Straker's, Notting Hill

Egg Soldiers tackles Thomas Straker's debut restaurant in the heart of Notting Hill's bustling Golborne Road, with menu pricing, flatbreads and frill-free sharers all discussed
Strakers Notting Hill
Launched in November 2022, Straker’s is the eponymous first restaurant of TikTok chef Thomas Straker, with the 40-cover “lively, neighbourhood restaurant” on Notting Hill’s Goldbourne Road offering a seasonal menu of Italian-leaning small and sharing plates.

It’s pretty hard not to have come across Straker in some capacity online over the past few years. Having started making recipe videos during lockdown while working aboard a luxury super yacht, Straker is now closing in on two million followers on TikTok, with the ex-sous chef of Phil Howard’s two Michelin-starred Elystan Street particularly famous for his ongoing series: All Things Butter.

Straker’s has been pretty much fully booked since launch, with walk-in opportunities few and far between. That didn't stop us managing to sneak in for lunch one week, with Straker’s proving Thomas’ abilities go well beyond Insta-worthy rochers of butter.

The Menu: Pricey but fair
Straker's menu, December 2022
OK, first off, Straker's isn't cheap. Sides all come in at £6 (even the green salad); all but one of the larger plates are £30+; and the cheapest small plates – the grilled purple sprouting and the roasted beetroot – will set you back £16.

That's not to say that Straker's prices means it doesn't deliver value for money. As discussed at the Foodservice Price Index (FPI) annual briefing 2022; a recent CGA Reach survey revealed that almost half of UK respondents equated value to be 'good quality' food and drink, rather than specifically 'cheap options' or those 'on offer/discounted'.

We think, considering the quality we experienced and rising food costs due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, the menu is justifiably towards the higher end of the neighbourhood bistro pricing spectrum. Straker's focus on working with small-scale suppliers should also be taken into account regarding cost.

And, as mentioned, Straker's continues to be packed, booked and full. Diners vote with their wallets.
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Fabulous flatbread
Flatbread with cavolo nero and stracciatella, Straker's
We decided early doors that we weren't just there for the butter. Sure, Thomas Straker is perhaps most famous for his luxury butter combos on TikTok/Instagram; but Straker's is a restaurant.

And to succeed long-term, it can't just be a destination restaurant for butter board enthusiasts.

So, we chose four dishes 'sans beurré': the brill, the pluma, the quail, and the flatbread with cavolo nero and stracciatella.

The flatbread was superb. Beautifully soft, fluffy and chewy, the dough is made using flour from regenerative farming pioneers, Wildfarmed, with the lot baked in a Gozney wood-fired 'Master' oven and drizzled with olive oil.

The cavolo nero pesto, slightly irony in flavour as you'd expect, held up brilliantly against the star stracciatella cheese smacked in the heart of the bread.

Simple. Sharable. £10. Delicious.

Fish, pork, and the game
Grilled Pluma with red peppers, almond pesto and mustard, Straker's
What works with Straker's dishes, we found, is the absence of any real fluff, bulk or faff on the plate. Every element is there for a reason, be it for flavour or textural attributes.

For example, the wood-roasted brill (£36) relied on acidity from the salsa verde, and benefitted from the texture of the white beans. A solid combination, overall.

With the arrival of the grilled pluma (£32, pictured), it was clear that meat is well treated at Straker's, the pork cooked nicely pink. The chunky almond pesto was laced with mustard, delivering a mild kick that didn't overpower.

Then there was the grilled quail (£19): a powerful seasonal small plate balanced nicely with chilli and yoghurt.

Room for dessert? You bet. Mini doughnuts with crème fraîche and pear jam (£9).
Trailblazer Takeaways:
  • Quality in focus
    Thomas Straker has shown, over the past few years on his social channels, that he's all about flavourful, quality food offerings. Or “food that you want to eat”, to quote him.

    Quality food resonates with diners, despite the cost-of-living crisis, so instead of chasing cheap alternatives, prioritise the streamlining of operational costs to continue delivering quality at cost-appropriate prices.
  • Keeping it simple
    While certainly not a universal rule for foodservice, we appreciated Straker's simple but effective ingredient combinations.

    It's easy to hide behind rich sauces and complex dish constructs for an effective menu build. But with his focus on small producers and suppliers, Straker is rightly cutting away the fluff to properly showcase individual ingredients.
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