Mon–Thu 7am–midnight; Fri 7am–1am; Sat 8am–1am; Sun 8am–11pm
As I hurried into the busy restaurant, canopied and painted in an Edwardian green, shaking off a brolly, I was greeted by the maitre de Johnny Depp. Well almost, his name was James but after a chardonnay and without my glasses he was Depp incarnate.
My friend Becca was a little late to join me, which gave me time to de-damp and take in my surroundings. I felt as if I could be a ‘50s actress waiting for my beloved in a Parisian train station – from the colourful vintage floor tiles to the globe lighting and the fruit bowl arranged on the bar, it was eclectic yet classic. I ordered an Italian chardonnay (£24.75), while Becca enjoyed a virgin cocktail Innocent Passion (£5) packed with passion fruit and tarted up with cranberry juice. The Olive Company olives that accompanied our drinks deserve a mention as they were heavyweights in flavour and colour.
I started with two small dishes (which turned out to be not as small as I thought) of crispy squid (£5) and smoked mackerel pâté (£5). The squid was perfectly light while the pâté was nothing short of amazing – sublimely creamy yet spiky with pepper and a warm finish of smokiness. Becca went for the classic scallops, bacon and peas combo (£12), which was gloriously sweet with maple-cured bacon and minty, crushed peas.
Mains were a meaty affair. I went for the duck with lentils and pancetta (£15.50) – earthy and wholesome with a deep richness and a side of perfectly creamed spinach (£3.50), served with a glass of French pinot noir (£7.75). Bang-on medium-rare was Becca’s sirloin steak with garlic butter and crisp, fluffy potatoes (£13.50) which she glugged down with freshly pressed apple juice (£3).
I always enjoy the anticipation of the dessert menu. Here, it was so naughty they put it on a separate sheet and hide it from you. My treacle tart (£6) was rich with caramel and a citrus zing but most importantly a perfectly crumbly pastry. Becca washed down her devilishly good chocolate and hazelnut mousse (£6) with a Hungarian sweet wine (£9.50).
Meal for two, including wine and service, around £120.
High Road Brasserie, 162–70 Chiswick High Road, London, W4; www.brasserie.highroadhouse.co.uk; 020 8742 7474