How I Found Twist Kitchen
As regular readers of this blog are well aware, pregnancy really took away the joy of eating out for me. The list of restrictions were about as lame as having a chaperone to prom. You were there but didn’t have any fun. Then after my baby arrived, the opportunity to go out for a nice dinner pretty much vanished. That is, until last Saturday night!
My in-laws were in town when, out of the blue and with just a few days notice, they generously offered to babysit our little one so that we could go on our very first date since baby. All we had to do was pick the place… With date night suddenly on the cards, I soon found myself torpedoing down the rabbit hole of all London restaurants.
Oh boy. There was just so much to take into account. The food, for starters. Cuisine, meat or fish, that sort of thing. The place, of course, somewhere new and trendy or an old favourite? Atmosphere and ambiance, definitely, location, you know, how far from home is appropriate in case we need to hurry back? And lastly, price, because let’s face it, we’re cash-strapped parents now. However… Given the rarity of the occasion… Maybe it’s worth blowing the budget?
I had to narrow it down. Think Lara think! So I decided to filter first by availability, made easy thanks to Opentable. A lot of London’s most popular restaurants get booked out weeks and months in advance, especially for Saturday night 9 pm, so actually that really helped. Next, I decided to focus on neighbourhoods close to home, and three days later, yup not a type-o, I finally narrowed it down to a handful of places. Finally, after the most deliberation ever given to a restaurant booking in the history of mankind, I decided to book Twist Kitchen in Marylebone. No pressure, guys!
Although a restaurant I hadn’t heard of before, Twist came up top in my research. What caught my eye was how every blog and review I read were literally raving about what a fabulous hidden gem it is. No one had a single bad word to say. According to TimeOut, it’s outstanding, About Time Magazine calls it fusion tapas at its finest, while London Unattached note how they “stand out for exceptional sourcing, perfect preparation and excellent service.” So to summarise what I found: Twist is a popular local restaurant in Marylebone, serving quality tapas with a modern twist in a warm and unpretentious setting. Pretty much exactly what I was looking for!
I thought long and hard about what kind of night our first date should be. I wanted the best food around without any fuss, somewhere chilled that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with sharing plates and a tuna tartare on the menu, good wine, cocktails, and Twist freakin’ nailed it. It was like your first time to Disneyland, filled with all the excitement and expectation, and it being exactly as you dreamt it. It was like legit having some kind of super power to pluck the most perfect unbeknownst restaurant from an infinite online selection in a mere three days. Three days, that’s nothing for achieving perfection.
Here’s what I loved most about Twist Kitchen
The Menu: You can visit Twist for tapas, you can go for wine, cheese and charcuterie, or you can go for an impressively large flaming Josper Bone steak for two. Usually that many options is a major red flag, but not here. I love that Twist isn’t a one-trick pony and that it caters to different types of clientele and food moods.
The Food: From the taste to the presentation, everything we had was flawless and indistinguishable from what you’d expect from a Michelin star. The tuna tartare was probably the best I’ve ever had. The homemade gnocchi with porcini butter also a drool-inducing winner.
The Vibe: On the lively ground floor of Twist, I forgot for a moment that I was in London, feeling as comfortable as I would in a lively local joint that could be anywhere in the Mediterranean. I loved the energy of the place, the warmth and cosiness of a restaurant that can only be a labour of love.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I often get asked where I recommend and for now, Twist is my answer. If you want a fancier venue, check out instead my post from last year, 12 Most Romantic London Restaurants. This year, however, I’m just a tired new mum who’s happily taking a break from the see-and-be-seen doing-it-for-the-gram Mayfair side of life, who wants to go to places that make her feel good without compromising on the food on her plate.
*This is not an ad or sponsored post, it’s a genuine review of somewhere I can’t wait to go back.