Chiswick is going up in the world. With a selection of new bars and restaurants in the area, it’s really putting itself on the map. Sam’s Brasserie, run by Sam Harrison and co-owned by Rick Stein and Rebecca Mascarenhas, is a big bonus for the neighbourhood.
Venturing inside this stylish yet understated establishment you slowly begin to realise just how special it is. To the right is a modest bar area, where customers can enjoy a few drinks before settling down for a veritable feast of locally sourced, delicious food. To the left the main restaurant has a certain buzz to it. The tables are close together giving it a sense of cosiness and warmth – a great place for an informal dinner.
The kitchen is on view which makes it looks like you’re secretly peering in on the multitude of creations occurring, which is a nice touch. To add to its local feel, the art placed around the venue has been supplied by a local artist and is bursting with colour and vibrancy.
Now on to the main attraction: the food. The menu is modern British and it doesn’t fail to tantalise your taste buds. Starters (£5 – £8) include seasonal produce such as English asparagus, poached egg and hollandaise (£7), an interesting concoction of steamed mussels with a rich saffron cream and baby spinach (£7). The addition of the spinach took some of the edge off the saffron, and the mussels were cooked to perfection – soft and succulent. Conversely, the guinea fowl and pancetta terrine with a spiced fig and apple chutney (£7.50), was rather a let-down. Although the chutney tasted exactly like mince pies, the terrine was a little under-seasoned and a touch on the bland side.
For main courses (£10.50 – £17.50) there is a wide selection to please the fussiest of eaters. The crisp sea bass (£15.25) is a dish they have got down to a tee. The light and crisp fish falls off the knife and the soft cherry tomatoes, drizzle of olive oil and complementing sweet garlic and hot chilli go beautifully together. Other dishes include spatchcock poussin (£14.50), rack of lamb (£16) and rib-eye steak (£17.50).
The dessert list is as full as the other sections. From £3.50 and going up to £7.50 for a selection of high quality Neal’s Yard cheeses, you’ll always find something that will tickle your fancy, such as the iced raspberry soufflé (£6) with a palate-cleansing lemon shortbread accompaniment.
Sam’s Brasserie prides itself on its carefully selected wine list. Starting at £3.75 a glass and £9.25 a 500ml carafe, with around 70 different wines, you are sure to find something that suits your tastes. Even if you are slightly intimidated by the list, staff will help you to select one and usually they pick a blinder. One to try is the 2007 Grenache/Syrah (£5.50/£14/£22.50). It is full bodied and an easy drink, going well with light dishes.
Although Chiswick is slightly further West than many people normally venture, if you don’t sample the menu here, you’ll be missing out on something amazing.