You’ve been on – or intend to go on – one of London’s Secret Food Tours.
So now for one of its secret restaurants – a place you won’t find by chance and where almost all of the diners are local. And as it’s in Notting Hill (yes, the location of the Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts 1999 film) you might even run into a celeb or two.
Uli – it means “go forth in strength” in Mandarin – is down a side road within walking distance of Portobello Road market, the Design Museum and the other delights of Notting Hill.
It’s Pan-Asian but that does not mean the usual mish-mash of dishes served somewhere that looks like a bad Bangkok dream.
Opened in 2016, (it was on another site nearby), the décor is modern European. Other than the music being too loud for lunchtime, this place is a yummy delight.
It has a specialist chef – one Joe Jangkedtong – and one of London’s only Robata grills. These are Japanese, originally from fisherfolk who took them on the boats to grill the fresh fish. Robata or Robatayaki help keep flavours of fish, meat and vegetables.
I started with mixed hors d’oeuvres. Soft shell crabs in chilli, and daikon cakes – a vegetable that I had never had before (it’s a root veg) cooked in potato flour to be gluten free and served with a layer of bean sprouts. Both were great but the daikon was a revelation with its mix of soft and crunchy.
There’s a lot of small dishes to share. For my main course, I tried Crispy Shredded Beef (good but not exceptional), some great Morning Glory beans and – best of all – the grilled sea food, prawns, scallops and salmon served with a chilli sauce and a lemon-grass sauce. The grilled fish was to die for – the salmon was both crispy and mouth wateringly flavoursome!
Forced (well, not that much) to have pudding, I opted for the chocolate cake. Covered with fruits of the forest, this was solid on the outside but almost liquid inside – a secret in itself.
I drank Coedo Beer, a white wheat beer from Japan with delicious hints of fruit. Followed by Mint Tea, served in transparent tea pots and see-through cups.
In all, I could move in! There’s a lunch menu as well – with a drink and service, you’ll get change out of £15.
5, Ladbroke Road
London W11 3PA
Phone 020 3141 5878
Nearest station Notting Hill Gate