Barley Mow Passage
Tucked away just off Turnham Green, you could easily miss Sam’s Brasserie and what it has to offer. We visited just as 2009 was gearing up for its heat wave, and people were dusting off the overcast days and stepping out to soak up some sunshine. As we arrived at 8 o’clock, it was that perfect time of the day when the sun sinks, the temperature dips and cocktails call. Arriving by car had scuppered my chances of a proper cocktail, but the barman made up for the lack of alcohol in my mocktail with a very decent mix of raspberry and lychee. The sugaring around the top of my glass made me feel just as though I was quaffing a cocktail (even if I wasn’t), and set the tone for our laid back brasserie-style dinner.
Once we’d made the move from bar to table, we cast our eye over Head Chef, Ian Leckie’s fresh, summer menu. The mozzarella and broad bean salad fitted the summer evening perfectly as a starter, whilst my dining partner opted for a plate of tender calamari. The mozzarella and broad bean salad was beautifully delicate yet big on flavour. The salty, milky gooeyness of the mozzarella was balanced out by the garden fresh taste of the broad beans – so good I would have happily upgraded the dish to a main course portion.
Our second courses arrived in the shape of British veal’s liver (and huge it was too), and a rib-eye steak. The liver defeated me in the end, but only because of its size, and the sweet, caramelised shallots didn’t manage to last two seconds. My dining partner’s steak got nods of approval on the flavour front during mouthfuls, and the carafe of house red went down faster than you could say ‘there goes half a bottle’.
It wasn’t just the wine that was popular that evening – the restaurant as a whole was buzzing with a largely local clientele. Large groups of friends, families and the post-work crowd filled up the tables and conjured up a chattering, laid back feel to the place. With a three-course Sunday lunch at £21.00, three-course dinners at £17.00 and two-course lunches at £12.00, Sam’s Brasserie puts itself forward as an affordable bite of Chiswick’s restaurant scene.
Sam’s Brasserie: Barley Mow Passage, Chiswick, London, W4 4PA. Tel: 020 8987 0555.
Reviewer: Helenka Bednar