Serving up a bucketful of options for the sea foodies, editor Sophie Ritchie visits Bucket in the heart of trendy Westbourne Grove
Bucket sits amongst Westbourne Grove’s cluster of yummy mummy magnets, its neighbours including the likes of Planet Organic, Granger and Co, plus several other slinky-sounding businesses.
But there’s also a plain old Sainsbury’s sitting opposite, so I don’t feel too out of my depth when I rock up after a day spent dashing around London from meeting to meeting.
With 78 covers, inside awaits a breath of fresh (sea-inspired) air. Interiors are laidback and fairly nonchalant, with a chic beach bar feel conjured by simple sofa booth seating, smooth wooden tables, cool hanging lights and brick walls that create a soft, inviting atmosphere.
The before mentioned tables are almost full when I arrive, filled with casually-dressed folk munching their way through a mix of fish dishes, sharing plates and enormous platters of oysters.
This evokes strong food envy before I’ve even glanced down at the menu (although I later learn that there’s no oysters left, the most recent catch of the day apparently devoured by the couple across from me). Shucks, I suppose.
Offering diners a plethora of seafood, Bucket serves jewels of the ocean by the (you guessed it) bucketful.
Ingredients are sustainably sourced, with most dishes designed for sharing and without fuss. This is a restaurant placing simplicity in the spotlight, rather than anything too eccentric. Under the leadership of new Head Chef, Mack Barnstable, they’ve just launched a brand new autumn/winter menu – which is where I come in.
The Food and Drink
The feast begins with a surprise rum cocktail, which appears in front of me whilst I peruse the menu and wait for my friend to arrive.
“We’re experimenting with new cocktails tonight,” the waiter explains as he sets the orange-hued glass upon the table. I sip it slowly whilst eyeing up the different sections of dishes, the heady ratio of rum to juice going straight to my head (what’s new).
My friend’s face soon peers through Bucket’s glass front and after settling in with the usual gossip and giggle, we order a number of small sharing plates which all have a distinct Mediterranean feel.
We’re almost seduced by the temptations of fresh fish scrolled on a chalkboard specials menu, although ultimately decide against the hook of seabass and other meaty hunks. Should you be starving, they’re undoubtedly worth a try.
The new menu focuses on the laid-back, family-style eating for which Bucket is already known, with an emphasis on raw dishes and small plates.
On the raw front, we try the Tuna crudo with avocado, sesame and soy (£11.5) as well as the Sea bass ceviche with pomegranate, grapefruit, red onion, chilli and coriander (£11).
The tuna crudo is delicious, thinly-sliced and easy to devour with its avocado topping. The sea bass ceviche also comes with a kick, thanks to the juxtaposition of grapefruit tang and fiery chilli.
For small plates, we try the Artichoke hummus with artichoke crisps and dukkah (£7.25,Piri-piri prawns with smashed avocado and green chilli (£11.50) and Whipped squash with pomegranate and squash salsa and toasted seeds (£6.75). And, like the cultured girls we are, a side of fries (£4.50).
The piri-piri prawns, served on small wooden skewers, are especially good – although their thick spice coating makes rather messy work.
The fresh flavours of the artichoke hearts also shines through in the addictive hummus, a must-order for vegans and fans of good flavours alike. I’m less impressed with the blob of squash dotted with pomegranate seeds and extra diced root veggies, which is creamy but lacks any distinct punch.
We’re both too full for dessert, although the Apple tart with vanilla ice cream does sound like my kind of seasonal temptation.
The Wordrobe Verdict
The service is friendly, the interiors are warm and the seafood is rather scrumptious. If you’re after a down-to-earth bite with stylish surrounds, then put Bucket on your restaurant bucket list and get ready to small plate the night away.
Make it happen
Where: 107 Westbourne Grove, Bayswater, London W2 4UW
How: Please visit bucketrestaurant.com or phone to make a booking and find out more.
Nearest tube: Bayswater