The Commander Porterhouse and Oyster Bar

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MTV boyfriend thinks that the only reasons I love oysters is that they are expensive. I admit that I do occasionally have expensive taste but can swear hand on heart that my love for oysters is solely based on their sublime taste of the sea. As soon as I heard that The Commander, a tired Notting Hill pub that had been closed for the past three months, was reopening as a North American style steak and oyster bar I had to get there straight away to try out their oysters.

The Commander has been transformed through the renovations to an elegant looking dining room with dark parquetry floors and an oyster bar with beautiful lead lighting. There is also a gourmet deli tucked away to the side of the dining room which sells fish from John Norris, meat from The Ginger Pig and flowers from Hayford and Rhodes.

The inclusion of the deli gives a hint of what is to come, alongside the standard menu there is a “Market Menu” that offers fish from John Norris or grilled meats from the Ginger Pig at “market price” (for an 8 ounce rib eye steak this was £6.06 which seemed about right). Edible flowers were not on offer but perhaps they are planning a move in that direction later. You then pay an additional £11.50 for preparation. The total price probably ends up being what you usually pay but this approach does emphasise the quality and provenance of the ingredients.

The wine list is also slightly quirky as it is helpfully divided into categories such as “light and juicy” which is pretty helpful if your wine knowledge is not that extensive. Even better, wine is also offered by the quarter, half and full carafe. The wine could come later though, I was having oysters so naturally I would be drinking champagne. Laurent- Perrier please. How else is a girl to celebrate the end of a month of non-drinking.

There were two choices of oysters and I decided on the Maldon Rock oysters which were served with a wedge of lemon and container of finely chopped shallots. They were excellent oysters: a slinky dose of the sea. MTV boyfriend even begrudgingly had one and had to admit that as far as oysters went, they were pretty good.

He tested out the “Market Menu” concept with the 8 ounce fillet steak which came served on runner beans with a Bearnaise sauce. The steak was excellent quality but slightly underdone (he had asked for medium rare but this steak was pretty blue). Given that The Commander had just opened and was offering a 25% off “soft opening” special, we saw this merely a sign of a teething problem by the kitchen and did not send it back.

My Fisherman’s pie was perfectly cooked. The creamy seafood filling was topped with a piping hot crust of golden potato. A simple side salad of sliced tomato topped with red onion and capers was a good accompaniment and keenly priced at only £2.50. Still I could not help but swipe a few of MTV boyfriend’s skin on fat chips which were served in a tiny little chip fryer basket. Gimmicky maybe, but the chips won me over.

Go and check out the new and much improved Commander. You can perch at the oyster bar for a few drinks or settle in for a three course meal in the dining room area. Either way, the ingredients are top notch and the menu offers an experience that is somewhat out of the ordinary in London.

Details: 47 Hereford Road, Bayswater, W2 5AH (Ph 020 7229 1503)

Damage: Pricey

7/10

If you liked this, you will love the British restaurant Hereford Road literally down the road from The Commander, or try some all American fare at Big Easy.

Commander Porterhouse & Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

8 comments

  1. You seem to have been to a different restaurant from Dos Hermandos:
    http://www.doshermanos.co.uk/

  2. It does seem like that! Although it would be pretty boring if everyone thought the same thing…

  3. Mmmm, oysters. The best selection of oysters and clams I’ve ever had was at a tiny place in Boston. They ranged from huge and nutty, to tiny and briny – all absolutely delicious. I’d love to check this place’s selection out!

  4. Went to the Commander tonight and it was great. Buzzy, fun and amazing food. I used to live in New York and this is the closest thing I have found in London…. the service was attentive and friendly!

    This is one London restaurant that’s worth a try!

  5. Jeanne – I am a total oyster fan as well.

    Anon – Good to hear you liked it as generally it seems the critics haven’t – although as reported here MTV boyfriend and I had a pretty good meal.

  6. One of London’s leading restaurants was under huge speculation after a woman died after eating there.

    The Commander Porterhouse & Oyster Bar was under pressure by management this week after a 50-year-old woman died after dining at the restaurant on Saturday night. She became unwell along with four of the other six people in her party.

    Westminster Council and the Health Protection Agency have launched an investigation to determine whether the woman’s death was linked to anything she ate or drank at The Commander. Further tests are being carried out after a post-mortem on Wednesday failed to establish the cause of death.

    The woman was from southeast London and is believed to have reserved a table with a group of friends on what is traditionally the restaurant’s busiest night.

    The Commander in Westbourne Grove in central London refused to comment last night. A member of staff would only confirm that the restaurant was under health & safety inspection for two days and has now reopened.

    Westminster Council said it had not ordered the establishment to close, but management had made the decision voluntarily. The HPA is still conducting tests to establish if there is a risk to public health and if the Food Standards Agency needs to investigate.

    The restaurant last had a routine food hygiene inspection in February 2008 when it was given three out a possible four stars. Inspectors said it had “good level of legal compliance” and added: “Some more effort might be required.”

    Richard Block, food safety manager at the council, said: “There is nothing currently to link this death directly to the restaurant which is cooperating fully with our investigation.”

    Owned by Jim Mellow of Sleepwell Group, the commander was relaunched as a restaurant in 2009 going on to become a haunt for celebrity and wealthy diners.

    It is still a popular late-night hang-out and regularly booked out for fashion industry parties. It was the venue for such celebrities like Jo Joyner, Jamie Theakston, Gary Beadle and other fashion icons.

    The 77-year-old designer and restaurateur, who owns the Habitat furniture chain, did open his first new venture in nearly 20 years with the launch of the Boundary in Shoreditch, east London recently.

  7. did you all read the standard article on michelle tooley. supposed to be the restaurant manager. she has no clue, she is a stuck up canadian cow who gets stressed, uptight when service is busy. you will get the worst service; you have a waitress with a short skirt and flashing her bits in front of customers. you have a bartender dealing drugs to staff members and customers. i actually met the bartender, jean michel. he tried selling me some drugs. the place is a health hazzard

  8. i was in the other night, was served by an american waitress courtney stebbings. it was the worst service ever, our food arrived cold we complained, and she ran away making smurk remarks. she is unbelievable. we will never come here again. we asked for the head waiter or manager, but some black guy; delroy came to us. gave us a free drink on the house. whens its busy the manager eastern european girl gets in a panic.never again. this place should be closed

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