Tel: +44 (0)20 8748 2966
Address: 83 Hammersmith Grove, London W6 0NQ
Cuisine Type: southern European
Hammersmith (HAMMERSMITH & CITY, PICCADILLY, DISTRICT)
Like so much of London, the best bits of Hammersmith are hidden away from those who fail to see past the distressing architecture of King Street and the hideousness of the bus station cum Coca Cola headquarters that is Hammersmith Broadway. Infamous for being a culinary wasteland, it is anything but, if you get off the main drags and into the side streets.
One such side street leads up to Brackenbury Village from the Hammersmith one way system (another curse of the place) and onto a pleasant stretch of Victorian town houses and local shops. A bright yellow building occupies the corner of Hammersmith Grove and Adie Road – it is The Grove bar and restaurant which is, in truth, the first place I’ve been to in these parts that can genuinely claim to be both.
Its owner is Montenegrin, and southern European elan is evident everywhere, external paint colour onwards. The outside furniture consists of European-style stone plant pots spread out to create an enclave for tables and chairs under a rollback canopy – great when the weather is being southern European, but even when it’s wet there’s a canopy to keep you safe from London’s messier climatic offerings. And inside there’s a vast space, decorated in pale pastel colours, which is split almost equally between a fine bar area with easy chairs and a more conventional restaurant section.
There’s little point in advising of which courses to sample, as the menu changes twice daily and is created at the whim of the chef. He’s clearly an adventurous chap too, for ingredients such as roast butternut squash and roast beetroot are used to great effect in main courses, each one of which has just that little bit more pizzazz about it than the catering school fare one comes to expect from so many London restaurants now. Service is always friendly and efficient and the choice of wines ranges from cheap and cheerful to moderately pricey, but all the wines we’ve tried on various visits have been palatable to say the least.
Standard European fare is the order of the day for puddings, ranging from tiramisu and creme caramel through ice cream and banofee pie, all of which top off a meal pleasingly.
The main courses can be pricey, but overall you can expect to pay around £50 for two here, excluding wine. And when somewhere offers food to such a consistently high standard as The Grove, repeat visits are simply de rigeur.