A cute café by day with a Notting Hill address that becomes a bistro by night and has been set up by a family with a real passion for food should on the face of it have the ingredients to make it a culinary winner.

With its distinctive bright frontage Wildflower Cafe – which also has an attractive pavement florist as part of its business – sits on the Westbourne Grove end of Chepstow Road, in a pre-dominantly smart neighbourhood area. Its large picture window displays preserves, olive oils, coffee beans, flowers and other goodies and presents an appealing advertisement for customers whether they are popping in for a coffee, brunch or dinner.

It was the bistro element of the business that I was keen to check out so on a warm spring evening I headed down to see whether a cafe can really transform itself into a restaurant destination and take on a different life that will tempt locals and passers-by through the doors.

First impressions of the dining area were pleasing to the eye. It is a light and airy space with interesting original art and a collection of vintage mirrors adorning the walls. There is some quirky lighting and the grey reclaimed timber floor, solid wooden top tables and colourful yellow metal chairs which give a relaxed feel to the cafe. However, it was difficult to get a real feel for its ambiance as for most of our stay we were the only two people eating before two other diners arrived just before we left – a shame for a Thursday evening.

The menu is compact and changes daily with just three starters, three mains and three desserts, which is something I have no problem with as long as those dishes deliver in terms of quality and taste and the menu is well balanced.

Fiona's starter of smoked duck breast with pickled plum (£6) was tasty and a good combination of flavours but the portion was rather meagre and the watercress dumped on the side looked like an after-thought rather than something that complimented the plate of food.

I could not fault the flavour of my well seasoned smoked salmon pate (£7) which was dense and creamy, but it was served too chilled rather than at room temperature. The pickled cucumber added balance but the toasted sourdough it came with was too thin and crumbly to spread the pate on.

Wildflower Cafe, 108 Chepstow Road, London W2 5QS
Wildflower Cafe, 108 Chepstow Road, London W2 5QS
 

Without doubt the star of the night was Fiona's perfectly seasoned, juicy and well cooked (pink) 21 day aged sirloin steak (£19.50) with a decent bearnaise sauce.It was attractively served on a wooden board with roasted cherry tomatoes, asparagus and twice cooked chips, which unfortunately lacked a bit of flavour and any real crunch.

I was left somewhat underwhelmed by my main of pan fried sea bass (£15.50), which although adequately cooked with crispy skin and served with vibrant new season asparagus, came on bed of rather bland and unadventurous crushed new potatoes and a nondescript herby beurre noisette. The dish just did not deliver on overall flavour and was crying out for more balance and a decent sauce.

We finished off with a well presented selection of Neal's Yard cheeses (three in total including a cracking blue) (£8.50) enhanced by a tasty plum chutney and enjoyed the remainder of our very drinkable French red wine (Gabriel Liogier Grignan-les-Adhemar La Ferette), from a small but well chosen list.

There were without doubt cooking errors on the night and I left a little disappointed and frustrated with the overall experience. Perhaps the kitchen had an off night as I had previously heard good reports about the food at Wildflower Cafe so I will give it a second chance and return to see if its menu can really hit the mark.

Wildflower Cafe is open Tuesday-Friday (10am-11pm) and Saturday and Sunday (12noon-11am).

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