Every now and then you come across a restaurant that just makes you go ‘yeeeees!’ Not in an inappropriate ‘When Harry Met Sally’ way, but just because it ticks all of your boxes and you can’t see how it would be improved. I had that experience at the weekend at Charlotte’s Place in Ealing Common.
I don’t know West London very well but the restaurants I’ve visited there to date have been amazing, so I don’t mind the trek across the capital, as it always seems to be well worth it. Charlotte’s Place is right on Ealing Common and is a small, quaint little restaurant on the corner of a picture-perfect residential street. Complete with cats, so I was happy!
The weather was nice (we just managed to beat the bank holiday rain) so we were able to sit outside, looking out over the common.
We started with a refreshing Gin & Tonic and went with a recommendation of Sancerre, Gérard et Pierre Morin French white wine which was lovely! We were visiting Charlotte’s Place to try Head Chef Lee Cadden’s new lunchtime tasting menu, made up of an Amuse Bouche and five courses. The menu will differ depending on seasonal availability, but this is what we tucked into…
The Amuse Bouche was a delicious Duck Liver Parfait with Apricot, which as you can see, was beautifully served, as were all of the courses. Despite its small size, it seemed to keep on going and going, spreading across the lovely fresh bread and butter. Like a Mary Poppins bag of the food world!
The first course was Isle of Wight Tomatoes, Jersey Milk Curd and Black Olive.
This is how the course was written on the menu, but there was so much more to it than that. For instance, it included Tomato Sorbet infused with Thyme. One of the only things that I’ve never liked is raw tomato. I like it in all other forms but something about it in raw form always turned my stomach. Recently I’ve started using raw tomatoes more in home cooking as it feels fresher than using tinned, and it’s slowly growing on me. As such, I was expecting this dish to be a bit of a challenge for me, but I actually enjoyed it. The flavours and textures were perfect and took my mind off the fact I was eating raw tomato. The milk curd was lovely, overall a clever dish!
The second course was Ink Poached Pollock, Octopus, Chickpea & Harissa.
This was incredibly tasty, I loved how the pollock was poached in ink, and yet the octopus was small and discreet, while still giving a great flavour. The chickpeas and harissa were lovely and rich, I could have eaten more of it!
The main course was Bavette, Chervil Root & Onion.
As you can see, the steak was cooked to perfection and the onion was done in rings. Each one was thin and lightly crispy, exactly how a good onion ring should be, but rarely found! The sauce was nice, although I would have liked something with horseradish to give it more of a kick. And as for the chervil, it might just have become my favourite new vegetable! I’ve never cooked one at home before but will do now – it was stodgy and sweet. Perfect!
Next we were served English Strawberries with Frozen Lemon Curd.
It wasn’t much to look at on the plate, but without meaning to sound naff, it really was a taste sensation. So many sweet, complementing flavours in such a small serving of food!
The final dessert was White Chocolate Parfait, Dark Chocolate & Orange Sorbet, Cocoa Nib & Honeycomb.
I mean what’s not to love about any of that?! As you can imagine, it was absolutely fantastic and was consumed by both of us rather quickly! Along with the food being wonderful, there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere in the restaurant and the service was superb.
There’s also a vegetarian version of the tasting menu, where the two main courses are replaced with Chilled Minestrone, Spring Vegetables & Tomato Consomme, and Thyme Gnocci, Cep Mushroom & English Pea Fricassee.
The menu is priced at £29.95 per person Monday to Friday, and £34.95 on Saturdays and Sundays, which I think is excellent value and highly competitive for all of the flavours and skills you get to experience.
Charlotte’s also has two other venues – a bar and kitchen called Charlotte’s W4 in Chiswick, and a large space at the brand new Dickens Yard development in Ealing which will be opening later this year. The owner, Alex Wrethman, spoke to us about the plans, and it sounds really exciting!
So whether you live in West London or not, I can’t recommend a visit to Charlotte’s Place enough. It took us over an hour and a half to get there but it was worth every minute of being on a sweaty bus or tube! We’ll definitely be returning.
I was invited to review Charlotte’s Place but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.