Londoners appreciate summer like few others. The long daylight hours, colourful floral bloom, alfresco spirit, and multicultural food and drink culture help make this city the envy of the world. And nowhere in London this combines these elements together quite like ULI Notting Hill.
All roads in the west lead to ULI, adorned with flowers for privacy around its showpiece terrace. It offers seasonal pan Asian fare with a mischievous streak—and that’s before you meet the staff.
Manager Graham Rebak recommended we begin with a lychee martini, and was quick to bring out several more throughout the meal. This version of the classic cocktail offers a sweetness to compliment the salt, sour, and umami flavours that are so at home in Asian cuisine.
Sipping the delicately layered martini, we knew we had to stick with Graham’s recommendations for the newly-launched summer menu that boasts 60 dishes. We began with a selection of snacks and small bites: Thai lobster crackers, vegetable spring rolls, and wok-fried daikon cakes with bean sprouts. The two scene-stealers were the asparagus with black bean, chilli and ginger, and prawns lightly fried in potato flour topped with chilli and spring onions, with not a trace of oil to be found on the plate.
At this point, deeply satisfied, my partner was wondering what to have for desert—forgetting that we still had mains to come. Enter the Thai sea bass fillet, steamed in a chilli and lemongrass broth that was a satisfaction in itself, and a chilli basil tofu that hit all the high notes. A side of stir-fried morning glory with garlic and egg fried rice helped us mop up all of the flavours without feeling uncomfortably full.
With this new lease on life, we cleansed our palates with a crisp New Zealand sauvignon blanc, and shared some toffee banana bites as the sun went down on the most romantic of London evenings.