Mon–Wed 11am–11pm, Thu 11am–midnight, Fri 11am–12.30am, Sat 10.30–12.30am, Sun 10.30am–11pm
A 17th century building that was formerly a police station, Carvosso’s is impressive at first glance because of its size. One of the prison cells has been refrigerated and is now full of booze; you can dine in another former cell. There are rich burgundy walls in the wine bar section at the front, a little room tucked around the corner facing onto the high street is made cozy by a fire and there is a massive outdoor courtyard at the rear. The restaurant winds around the side of that courtyard. We got a dark, intimate, wood-panelled booth that would be good for romantic trysts but there are also tables to be had. The delightfully saucy art of Charles Mozley on the walls raised a smile and if all that space isn’t enough for you there is another room (and bar) upstairs for private hire.
Anyone who fancies a very decent glass of wine in a more dignified setting than the pub. We’re not talking young and funky here – more middle class and monied. A lot of them looked like they needed a drink; by the look of them Chiswick mortgages mean you have to work bloody hard.
When he’s not in London, Paul Carvosso, the very definition of a bon viveur, lives in Sussex. So there are lobsters from Selsey and game from the countryside. Half a lobster (£12) was sweet and fresh; her classic dish of scallops with chorizo and pea puree (£8) was declared ‘perfect’ with a satisfying smack of the lips. She made short work of the 14oz Dover sole (£15.25) too, a fantastic flounder with a light touch of capers. I struggled with the whole partridge (£12.90) with a knife and fork before forsaking dignity and ripping the little bugger up with my hands. Never had it? It’s like chicken with a subtle hint of liver – gamey, as people always say. Perfectly okay here, but not worth the effort. Chocolate brownie (£5.50) and poached pear (£5.50) were exactly as they should be and no more.
Given it’s a wine bar out front, lots of interesting grapes to be tried by the glass (I particularly liked the Argentinian Vino Torrontes). The wine list is also helpfully sectioned by taste description – helpful as there are a multitude of bottles to choose from.