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Restaurant Review: The Test Kitchen, Soho London

By Georgie Bentley-Buckle on 14th September 2017

Adam Simmond’s first solo enterprise pop-up on Frith Street, The Test Kitchen really is all in the name – dishing up a changeable menu that develops each week with the help of diner’s feedback.

Testing a variety of dishes on diners, the concept of The Test Kitchen is to curate a menu with the help of the city’s diners for his permanent venture set to open next year. A clever pop-up concept, Adam’s carousel of dishes highlight Simmond’s culinary creativity for usual flavour combinations.

A clever pop-up concept, Adam’s carousel of dishes highlight Simmond’s culinary creativity for usual flavour combinations.

What’s the deal?

£35.50 for four dishes and a glass of champagne, the pre-theatre set menu is a procession of small dishes that pack in the flavours. Each encapsulating Simmond’s gastronomic journey (which included two Michelin stars) up to where he is today, diners can expect something new each week.

When is it available?

The pre-theatre set menu is available Saturday between 17:30 and 18:30 with both bookings and walk ins welcome. The Test Kitchen will frequent the former lease of Barrafina up until March 2018.

What’s it like?

With a cover of just 23 revolving around a show kitchen, the concept of The Test Kitchen is to erase the separation between the kitchen and the diners for a sociable and interactive dining experience. With no genre or limited possibilities, The Test Kitchen is a moveable feast with a core foundation that is based on guest feedback.

The week I visited the five-plate set menu featured a smooth pearl barley with truffle and cos lettuce that Simmonds had paired with hazelnut, fennel pollen and white currents. Moving onto the more substantial dishes was a simple but rather unexciting cod dish with wild garlic and flowers. The menu peaked towards the end with a small but memorable cut of lamb complemented by fermented tomato. Dessert showcased Simmond’s inspiration for flavour combinations with medley of strawberries, red peppers and basil.

Dessert showcased Simmond’s inspiration for flavour combinations with medley of strawberries, red peppers and basil.

Verdict

An ingenious concept that really shines light on what diners do and equally don’t like, before leaving all are asked to complete a small feedback form; ideal for anyone who fancies themselves as critic for the night.

With a simple layout of counter seating, diners can chat freely with the team on the dishes that do and don’t work as well as the most popular that are worth a try. Once successfully tested, dishes are removed and replaced with fresh new ones for scrutinizing.

The Test Kitchen: 54 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4SL; www.thetestkitchen.uk, 0207 734 8487

Follow Georgie Bentley-Buckle on Instagram @eat_my_words