The Life Goddess Carnaby
18 Kingly Court, 1st floor, W1B 5PW
London may sometimes feels as if it is a constant building site, but the flip side to the disruption is that the outcomes can be both rejuvenating and unpredictable. The creativity and entrepreneurship of the human capital that floods into our city brings new ideas from around the world and energises the metropolis. Kingly Court is a newly constructed eating destination in the recently designated ‘Carnaby’ quarter that stretches from the back of Regent St through the offshoots of Carnaby St, the 60s fashion and music artery. It almost feels like a medieval courtyard with its wooden staircases and restaurants perched on three levels. It’s the sort of place you would open your second restaurant if you were building a group and that’s what the Pizza Pilgrims boys have done (see our review) as well as the owners of ‘healthy Greek’ restaurant The Life Goddess.
With interiors in grey and wood tones there is a seriousness of intent about The Life Goddess so no plate smashing or deep-fat frying here. Fuelled by a deliciously herby bottle of Athina, Assyrtiko Santorini, 2013 (£34) we set upon our starters.
Kapnisto (£9) was a pleasing assemblage of smoked eel, chard, crabapple, cherry tomatoes and olive oil. The eel tasted really fresh without being oily and the smoke was at a level to allow the fish flavour through.
A platter of Meze (£11) brought together authentic tasting tzatziki, fava, a spicy cheese dip, top-notch Alonissos tuna with tomatoes, onion and black olives. I would have loved a proper taramasalata and skordalia (garlicky potato) but if you had everything where would you put it?
Shrimp Saganali (£9) was a plateful of juicy fresh shrimp cooked in a light tomato sauce, with chilli, raki (Cretan firewater) and Haldiki goats cheese. It tasted like good home cooking Greek style.
Our mains all came in earthenware pots hot from the oven. Octopus Stifado (£14.50) was a gutsy octopus and onion stew with a deep cephapolodic flavour.
Giant Beans from Prespes (£12.50) were slow-cooked in a tomato sauce with Greek sausages. This was another warming homestyle stew.
I didn’t get to taste the Moussaka (£13) but was reliably informed that it was lovely!
For dessert I had a ‘sweet plate’ of morello cherry, chestnut and fig compotes with homemade Greek yoghurt (£7). This was a delicious indulgence but not too sweet.
Kingly Court is a vibrant new addition to the informal London dining scene and The Life Goddess certainly plays its part. It had only just opened when we were invited to review and the menu will develop with platters of cheese and charcuterie soon to be available. I would like to see a side salad on the menu and a greater use of garlic and herbs in the baked dishes, but there is an honesty and integrity to the cooking that I really liked.