New & Noted: Notting Hill British Cuisine

What: Just what it says on the tin: stereotypically British cuisine
Where: Ferguson Lane, Unit 105, 378 Wukang Lu, near Tai’an Lu. Tel: 6468 7777
Why: All-day breakfasts and other traditional English dishes on the cheap

Named after a central London neighbourhood (and a damned good 90s Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts romcom), Notting Hill could only get more British if waiters waved Union Jacks and sang “God Save the Queen” while serving pub classics. The over-the-top logo includes a crown and a crest, complete with more flourishes than the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and the commercialisation of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster has reached its apex here. Originally a propaganda tool created by the British Government in preparation for the Blitz, no fewer than five oversized posters encourage diners to “Keep Calm” and “Eat Pancake First [stet]” then “Order Roast Beef ”.

But if there’s a theme, there’s a way – and the menu stays very close to its intended geography, occasionally succeeding in recreating dishes worthy of the crown, like the fish & chips (RMB 98). One of the better iterations in town, lightly beerbattered cod filets are not dulled by the deep fryer, managing to retain the bright, clean flavours of the sea. A generous heap of thick-cut chips confirmed its triumph over its Shanghai competitors.

All-day breakfasts take up a full menu page, with the signature English (RMB 88) adding in a fruit cup and subtracting the black pudding, but keeping the remainder of the morning spread conventional. Also on offer
is a delightfully runny black trufflescrambled egg (RMB 78), topped with fried porcini mushrooms, adding earthiness to the already-musty splash of truffle paste.

Not all of its traditional British cuisine gets such high marks. A side of Yorkshire pudding (RMB 18) was forgettable in every way except price tag. The scone (RMB 20) was on the (American) biscuit side of crumbly, and topped with the exact same cream, maple syrup, walnuts and ice cream as the Belgian waffle (RMB 42) - and the pancake (RMB 42) for that matter, which we ordered well past 10pm when the instructive poster had worked its subliminal magic on us. If you really need something sweet, go for one at most; all three taste redundant.

Despite the overt British branding, the kitchen doesn’t stick solely to the UK for culinary inspiration. Fall-off-thebone- tender “easy fried” chicken wings (RMB 46) came spiked with a zesty mild spice mix. We’re not sure what makes the frying particularly easy, but the baker’s dozen of bonein wings came out of the kitchen fast – perhaps two minutes after we ordered – and disappeared just as quickly.

Brunch here will be an inevitable conclusion for those who consider British food their cup of tea, and it’s a nice alternative to the other already-packed restaurants in Ferguson Lane. Are they revolutionising the cuisine of the United Kingdom? Not even a little bit. But sometimes a substantial taste of home is all you need, and at prices like this, it’s practically cheap as chips.