The background: Flat Three opened in 2015 in Holland Park after years spent as a supperclub serving a mélange of Japanese and Nordic cuisine. Founders Pavel Kanja – who is also head chef – and Juliana Kim Moustakas used to run foodie evenings from her flat, which explains the name of the restaurant, and the feeling of an intimate supperclub persists, though now mingled with the accoutrements of a refined restaurant. The focus is still on Asian/Scandi cuisine as well as tapping into the flavours of unusual ingredients, offering something quite unique for London’s restaurant scene. This has culminated in a seven-course vegan tasting menu – one of the most flavourful and original in the capital.
The space: A minimal and subterranean space that manages to retain a warm buzz and unhurried atmosphere.
The bar: Flat Three makes a large selection of tintures and tonics, pressed juices and ferments in the restaurant kitchen so there’s a lot worth trying. The wine list is varied and extensive, with a particular focus on pinot noir and Riesling. Follow dinner with a tea from the restaurant’s generous offering.
What to eat: The restaurant has always been herbivore-friendly but has reached a new level of plant-based cooking with this new menu. It is subject to change, but on the night we visited the menu started with a refreshing and moreish spring green oshitashi (a Japanese salad with sesame), and followed with a complex and delicious dish of fermented cabbage and French onion dashi, then a satisfying and unusual course of alexanders with smoked tofu and sea kale.
Flat Three is known for its use of foraged ingredients, which came into play with the next plate of umami-rich smoked sand carrot, miso and Cornish seaweed (pictured top). The next course was the most stimulating of the lot and the pièce de résistance of the experience – a bowl of irresistibly chewy linseed noodles served with rich gochujang chilli and king cabbage. The effect was a kind of Asian vegan spaghetti Bolognese, with its deep and satisfying flavours and textures.
Following this triumph, Flat Three cleverly switches to dessert. Firstly, a cleansing combination of bergamot, rhubarb, olive oil and apple followed by a tasty and tangy tofu sorbet with pomegranate. On the non-vegan menu the final dessert is served with wood ants and the restaurant were kind enough to sate our curiosity by providing a small dish for us to try – the ants were tart, citrusy and would make an excellent addition to the dessert if your diet includes hexapods.
The bill: A seven-course tasting menu is £69 per person. Alcoholic pairing is £49 or non-alcoholic pairing is £33.
In summary: Flat Three is worth visiting for its unique blend of Nordic and Asian flavours and innovative use of ingredients, whether vegan or not. But for those who have chosen a plant-based diet, or who want to try it, Flat Three really has something extra special.