Having already been lucky enough to visit Sam Harrison’s latest venture in Balham I couldn`t wait to try out his flagship restaurant located just off Chiswick High Street in West London. Like it`s younger sibling it manages to offer an informal dining experience without compromising on quality food or fantastic service.
Sam Harrison previously worked with Rick Stein in Padstow, the legacy of which sees Stein himself take a stake in this brasserie, now three profitable years old. The secret to its success lies in keeping things simple and surprisingly good value. It`s possible to take advantage of weekday two-course set menu for as low as £12 for lunch and £14 for dinner. And the clean contemporary interior means that a mere lighting adjustment transforms it from a chic brunch destination to an intimate dining location.
I arrived midweek on a warm late May evening to find a quietly busy bar and dining area filled with what appeared to be smartly dressed regulars either catching up over a glass of wine or sampling the wonderful food.
I started off the evening with a strong sharp apple martini, beautifully served with a twist of the fruit itself. My friend chose a summery Grey Goose Caipiroska, but if neither of these appeal don`t worry- there is plenty of choice when it comes to cocktails.
Service is slick, if you`ve booked a table there is no hanging around waiting to be seated. And on as soon as we reached our table we were immediately offered a choice of breads and given menus to study.
I opted for pea blinis with smoked salmon and créme fraiche as my starter whilst my friend went for the asparagus and poached egg. Suffering form food envy we shared both and I have to confess I couldn`t decide which I preferred- everything was delicious.
Sticking with fish I moved on to sea bass with black spaghetti and cherry tomatoes as well as an aside of sautéed corgette. The exotic sounding pasta didn`t disappoint and the sea bass was perfect.
My friend decided on the cod served with pancetta served in a delicate leek and vegetable stock which looked great and apparently tasted wonderful too.
All this was accompanied by one of Rick Stein’s own wines: the Sauvignon Blanc/ Semillon, Hunter Valley, Australia 2007 which I`d recommend if choosing the fish.
Unfortunately we were both too well fed to take advantage of the tempting deserts but satisfied our sweet tooth with Sam`s treats: a selection of chocolates and marshmallow which really complimented the coffee.
If I`m in Chiswick again I`ll revisit Sam`s and will certainly be commending it to any West Londoners!
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