Local Dad and restaurateur Jasper Gorst, started in his culinary career in his late teens – first as a barman, then a waiter and finally General Manager all by the age of 22.
Filled with determination to have a place of his own, he opened his first restaurant — Jacs in 2001. With the success of his first venture he swiftly opened his second venue – The Oak in Notting Hill – which claims to serve the best pizzas in London. His third restaurant — The Old White Bear — located in Hampstead, used to be an ‘old man’s drinking pub’, but with an eye for potential Jasper turned it into a slightly more formal version of the Oak to critical acclaim. Last summer, Jasper opened The Bird in Hand in West Kensington, yet another example of choosing the right location to enable the restaurants to become central to the local community.
His latest project — The Oak W12 is special for a few reasons. First, it’s the largest of all his restaurants and second because it’s in his local community. Jasper lives around the corner with his wife Isobel, two daughters and dog Whiskey.
Local residents have seen a fair share of turnover at The Oak W12’s chosen location, however there is a buzz in the community which will hopefully prove his theory yet again about tapping in with the right offering…
Tell us about your plans for The Oak…
The Oak W12 is the newest addition to a small but perfectly formed restaurant group. The Oak W12 will follow closely in the footsteps of Jasper’s flagship restaurant, The Oak in Notting Hill, a popular and successful neighbourhood restaurant and bar.
The restaurant will seat 60 people in the dining room, have a fabulous private dining area that will be able to accommodate up to 20 people as well as an inviting lounge offering its own distinct tapas menu. In the summer months an outside terrace will offer a further 30 dining covers.
The decor will be an unusual and eclectic mix of modern industrial chic, old English eccentricity and Italian antiques all set within a beautiful and grand Victorian building
Also like we are at our other restaurants, we want to become a central hub for the local community and regular customers. We aim for our service to be “informal yet informed”, by making sure our staff are trained and have a full knowledge of the products that they are serving. We also encourage the staff to really get to know their customers; all of our sites rely on repeat custom over passing trade so it’s really important to us that people feel welcome and encouraged to come back.
Will The Oak be family friendly?
The Oak W12 will definitely be family friendly; children are more than welcome when with their parents throughout the time the kitchen is open.
What challenges have you faced opening up here?
Mostly transforming the inside – changing the building from what it is – but we have a dedicated team of builders who have worked with us on many of our projects. Also Jasper, the company director and creative designer for all the restaurants, has such an eye for detail and is passionate about finding furniture and fittings that are 100% right for the look he wants.
We are also really encouraged by the support we have received from the local community already, W12 and especially the residents of Askew Road have been very welcoming and we are looking forward to becoming part of W12 life.
What’s on the menu?
The menu at The Oak W12 will be very much Mediterranean based with the emphasis on Italy, Spain and regional France, sourcing top quality seasonal ingredients from local suppliers; and of course the classic wood-fired pizzas. We will also be serving lunch and brunch on the weekends. Sample starters include sauteed lamb sweetbreads with morels or a salad of chargrilled octopus with saffron potatoes and piquillo peppers. Mains include Sauteed rabbit, chorizo, roast tomatoes, wild garlic and sherry vinegar or Roast rack of Cornish lamb, strangolapreti, pine nuts and sage.
And to drink?
As with all of our restaurants, The Oak W12 will focus its drinks menu on Old World wine, Aby Scott, the operations manager, has designed and developed the wine list into the delicious and diverse offering it is today. She works with a range of wine suppliers who in turn work with vineyards all over Europe and has very good connections with them all. The list offers some of the very best classic grape varieties as well as introducing newer wine producers from the “new, old world” countries such as Austria and Hungary.
Alongside the wine we will serve draught ale, larger, cider and Guinness as well as bottled beers. We will also have a small and seasonal Cocktail List, offering interesting blends of flavours and tastes including some special brunch cocktails.
When are you opening?
The Oak W12 is due to be open to the public from Monday 10th June, we will be open every evening during the week for dinner service and from 10am on weekends serving brunch, lunch and dinner. From 1st July The Oak W12 will be open from 12noon for lunch during the week too.
Located at: 243 Goldhawk Road
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