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22 January 2015

review | the little yellow door, notting hill gate

dear all future pop-up restauranters in london, you're done. don't bother trying to fly your latest hair brained idea past the shortlist and evening standard mags, and hope people's interests will be piqued enough to try it out and pretend to really enjoy it; there's simply no point. we have reached the natural peak in curious dining activities, and it lives at number 68 notting hill gate. 

behind that little yellow door, and nestled between two high street food chains, or games exchanges, or laundromats (who could say) is london's friendliest pop-up bar and restaurant; based on a fictional flatshare, the five eclectic flatmates will welcome you into their cosy west london home once a week for an incredible dining experience. the rest of the week, they're more than happy to have you 'round for drinks and boardgames in their indoor treehouse. you just need to whatsapp them in advance to ensure there's room for you. yes, seriously.

lucky for us, angie had made the arrangements for us well in advance, and we were treated to a taste of the flatmates' friday night experience - on a wednesday, of all nights. once we'd found the bloody yellow door (difficult, despite the colour), we were ushered up the winding staircase, relieved of our sopping wet coats, and handed a duplo piece we were assured was a commodity; to be exchanged with the barman in return for a tea cup of the house's finest gin cocktail; the libertine - jammy dodger chasers were complimentary, of course. and yes, i do mean the biscuit variety.

with tea cup cocktail firmly in hand and toes drying out in the warm 'front room', we got to mingling. well, sort of. with so much thought gone into the decorating of the flat, there was plenty of 'stuff' to look at and coo over, like the projector playing classic films like 'the big lebowski' in the centre of the room, or the excellently curated games room/tree house at the back of the flat, or the miss-matched but totally on-point picture frames hanging on the walls. honestly, it was the best-dressed flat i've ever step foot in.

before too long, our gin cocktails were replaced with the house punch (guests are encouraged to bring a bottle of the weirdest booze they can find, for the bartenders to whip into a delicious concoction), and we were shown to the two long tables that had been prepared in our honour. dinner was served!

you'll have to excuse the odd orange tinge to everything; what passes for mood lighting for hipsters these days is not necessarily what will fly for food bloggers. the housemates soon realised that this ludicrous lighting was not going to work for the twenty-odd bloggers trying to capture the many, many courses of lovingly made food that the wandering chef had produced in that tiny, tiny kitchen, and turned up the house lights. funnily enough, it barely made a difference.

the food was so good, that i daren't try and describe it for fear of not doing it justice. for similar reasons, i've only used a few of the pictures of the food that i took - looking back over them just now, i'm disappointed they came out so bad. for a better idea of the delicious courses we devoured in that one sitting, go check out rosie's recap of the night, as it's the best version of pictures that i've seen yet. 

what i will tell you is that i've never enjoyed beef carpaccio in my life, and wednesday night's version has completely changed my life. and that pork belly? stop, i cannot even. literally. duck ragu, trio of desserts? enough. the entire bread basket i devoured thinking the food would be naff and i'd need a mcdonalds on the way home? rookie. error. do not eat the bread, i implore you.

the final touch was literally an espresso martini and a single cigarette. coffee and a fag. that's just the type of no holds barred joint the little yellow door is. encouraging all your bad habits since 2014. seriously though, the flatmate's tenancy runs out mid-summer, so make sure you check it out before you miss (it) out. the friday night dinner is a bargainous £35 for four courses (including the punch!), just make sure you whatsapp the flatmates to check for availability. failing that, you can grab your mid-week-through-saturday-night drinks from the flat's bar with little-to-no notice at all.

and if all that doesn't get you going, then, do it for the black and whites of john travolta working out in the ladies bathrooms. i wish that bit was a lie.

*thank you so much for TLYD for being such incredible hosts, to the wandering chef for the incredible food*

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