With the launch of One Kensington this month, Karl Kessab, new General Manager and world’s first ever tea sommelier, spoke to us about what we could expect from this unique dining experience.
What are the sorts of dishes that people can expect to see on the menu?
The Spring menu will feature a selection of light dishes including seafood salad, pea soup with lobster and quinoa, salt crusted sea bass with vegetable ratatouille as well as some more hearty dishes such as loin of venison with salsify and pistachio, gnocchi with tomato ‘San Marzano’ and salty ricotta and veal schnitzel with fennel, orange and red cabbage. To showcase our deserts, we’re introducing a sharing ‘assiette dessert’ as well as an adaptation of the classic Black Forest, served with kirsch and cherry diplomat.
These dishes are inspired by our chef Masimilliano Blasone’s Italian heritage, and are based upon seasonal ingredients and the application of various cooking techniques he acquired during his experiences in many great kitchens across the world. For Masmimilliano precision is key, both in balancing flavours and presentation.
What can people expect from One Kensington?
One Kensington is a restaurant, counter bar & raised Champagne table in the heart of Kensington. Overlooking Kensington Palace Gardens, One Kensington provides a glamorous space for socialising and entertaining, from lunch and dinner, through to cocktails and late supper.
Our aim is to provide an elegant all-day dining experience offering customers the most efficient and approachable service whether they’re popping in for a glass of Champagne, a business lunch or drinks and dinner with friends. We’re very proud of the design which pays tribute to the building’s rich banking history.
What have been some of the challenges you found during build phase?
The site is within a grade II listed building at One Kensington High Street. The intriguing building has a prestigious address and was originally home to The London & County Bank in 1885, designed by Architect Alfred Williams. However this heritage brings with it the additional responsibility of sympathetic restoration which has to be balanced with the desire to design and fit out a modern restaurant and kitchen. Fortunately our designers and building contractors ensured a smooth build phase with an on-time completion.
What is your favourite aspect of One Kensington?
I would have to say the look & feel of the space and branding. This centres on mid XIXth century inspirations. The beautiful technical structure of Crystal Palace, Gustave Eiffel engineering skills and riveted metal details, are balanced by comfortable and vibrant turquoise leather upholstery to create a luxurious and elegant interior.
We hear you will be launching afternoon teas and that you were the world’s first tea sommelier, what can people expect from the afternoon tea offering and when will it be available from?
Our Executive Chef Pâtissier, Sanjay Gour, is planning a Spring tea offering, highlights will include a perfectly proportioned fruit tartlet, starring blushed pink roasted rhubarb, creamy custard, and crisp golden sweet pastry. He will build on favourite flavour combinations, many of which date back to the Victorian era. Presentation will be modern and often infused with a creative twist, inspired by leading fashion houses and next season’s colour palettes in our patisserie. He will present cakes infused with floral flavours for the launch of One Kensington’s afternoon tea during the Chelsea Flower Show.
My direct relationships with growers and blenders at tea plantations in countries such as Sri-Lanka, China, Nepal and even Vietnam has allowed me to create many personalised tea blends some of which will feature on the list at One Kensington. The tea menu will change regularly, featuring rare teas sourced in season, as they are grown in small quantities by private estates enabling customers at One Kensington to sample teas in their peak condition. Guests will be able to experience a guided pairing of teas to complement the food offering, similar to the way in which a wine sommelier recommends pairings for a flight of wines to complement a tasting menu.
1 Kensington High Street,
London, W8 5NP