Caia, Notting Hill, review
Caia restaurant and music venue: Notting Hill's new foodie spot
Retro listening room, open kitchen with wood fire and an inspiring menu. Welcome to Caia, the new Golborne Road joint that is putting Notting Hill high on the foodie map.
Golborne Road is strangely quiet when my friend and I arrive and, at first, we struggle to find Caia. Tucked between an old-fashioned Middle Eastern café and a furniture shop and just a few yards away from Trellick Tower, the restaurant doesn’t shout for attention.
Perhaps this is for the best, for Caia feels just like the right in-the-know spot you want to visit on a Wednesday evening. As we walk in, the atmosphere is buzzing with trendy locals who seem to be enjoying the fire cooking and the great music immensely. The space is narrow and welcoming, with its long bar, brick walls and just a few tables. There is a private room at the back and a listening room/club in the basement that boasts an incredible collection of vinyl.
We could easily sip drinks there and forget about dinner. But as it turns out, that would be a great shame. Back upstairs, we are invited to sit on high stools by the bar and handed a menu. It is worth noting that the main ingredients will be cooked on an open fire.
Caia, named after the Roman goddess of fire, is the brainchild of Noting Hill locals Tim Lang and Rishabh Vir. They recruited the Canadian-born chef Jessica Donavan who previously worked at the Pem and knows all about the subtleties of open-fire cooking.
From the charred pumpkin served with a Tunworth cheese broth and the pork belly seasoned with kimchi to the perfectly cooked monkfish and its sea vegetables, everything is seared, charred, barbecued or lightly burnt – to perfection. Paired with audacious salsas, foamy concoctions or crispy vegetables, the result is both immensely pleasurable and creative.
The desserts are another highlight. The charred pear with crème anglaise wins my friend’s heart – lucky her, she's a local. I am under the spell of the toasted marshmallow with dark chocolate.
We will go back to Caia and make sure we have more time to enjoy the music – that if we can manage to get a table for a soon-to-become most sought-after spot in Notting Hill.
Caia: menu + drinks average per person: £70