When we moved to London in June 2013, I started hearing of a lot of neighbourhoods that I had never heard of before, such as Chiswick (as one of my work colleagues lives there). After he corrected me multiple times on the pronunciation (ignore the W and it is pronounced Chizick phonetically…), he also educated me on the fact that this hood has several very good restaurants, and as such, we made plans to visit one of them, La Trompette. Sadly, Stewart had to travel and the dinner got postponed.
My friend Vickie recently moved to Chiswick with her boyfriend, and as we brainstormed on dinner venues, she suggested La Trompette as it is their favourite neighbourhood spot. Stewart and I had been to Chez Bruce recently (in Wandsworth) and La Trompette is owned by the same people, and since we liked Chez Bruce, we were looking forward to trying its sibling in Chiswick.
The menu and price structure at La Trompette is identical to the one at Chez Bruce, with a three-course set menu for £49.50.
What we ate:
Coppa con collo with roast pumpkin, spiky artichokes, pickled walnuts and semi-dried muscat grapes: Gareth ate this and let me try it, which is a sign that we can now be friends. As I have mentioned, I don’t really have many friends who refuse sharing food but I would not sure he would….as this was our first dinner together (he passed). The coppa is a cured meat and was thinly sliced and tossed with the artichokes. The entire dish had a nice meaty sauce drizzled around that made it more wintery and hearty. But I was so focused on trying his food that I forgot to photograph it.
Cep and three cornered garlic soup with black truffle, ricotta and warm gougeres: picture doesn’t capture how delicious this was. The soup was creamy and rich and there was much more of a mushroom taste than garlic thankfully. The gougeres were served on the size and had a light ricotta filling that made it even better than traditional gougeres. Sadly the picture doesn’t capture how delicious the soup was. Stewart mopped every last drop, mopping the plate with his bread. Good news is that in some cultures that is considered polite as it shows appreciation for the dish but I have to find out how it is viewed in England and if it is considered appropriate or an utmost sign of bad manners.
Warm salad of thornback ray, smoked eel, golden beets, horseradish and apple: the ray was tender and delicious and the smoked eel just added the perfect amount of smokiness while the apple added some crunch. My only complaint is that I found the overall dish somewhat greasy, which was unnecessary.
Raw Isle of Orkney scallops with blood orange, English wasabi and artichoke cream (+ £6.50): there was just a bit too much going on, and the dish was presented with some foam on top which made it more challenging to visualize the ingredients underneath and it overwhelmed the delicate raw scallop slices. The foam/snow on top was very cold and even though Vickie tends to hate foams she liked this one and I thought it added a fun texture contrast to the overall dish.
Chargrilled monktail with butter roasted cauliflower, fondue of leeks and truffle (+ £6.50): both Gareth and Vickie ordered this dish, but since she doesn’t love monkfish (and neither do i), they offered to prepare ours with cod which was a lovely suggestion. Usually Stewart and I order different things so we can explore the menu and try more but nothing made either of us very excited from the main course menus so all three of us ended up with the same dish (girls with cod). Gareth wisely remarked that Americans (and he includes me in that group) usually make changes when they look at menus while Brits always order as they are meant to be. In this case, we did well as the cod was delicious. The dish was a bit monochromatic and could have used some crunch, but it was wintery and rich. The leeks were sautéed and diced and hiding under the fish and the cauliflower was roasted (a tad overcooked) and placed around the fish. I didn’t identify much of a truffle taste which was disappointing.
Roast woodcock with baked potato agnolotti, shaved cauliflower, marjoram, raisins and pine nuts: Stewart also couldn’t find anything exciting among the mains so asked if they could make this starter in entrée size (I guess Gareth is right, another American changing things around…). This was the highlight of the evening. The woodcock (bird) made a great filling that was earthy, meaty and juicy and despite the raisins, the dish wasn’t sweet. The pine nuts added a nice crunch and it overall just worked very well.
At this point our dining companions were too full to order dessert so I convinced Gareth to order the soufflé so I could try it. Vickie went for some ice cream and Stewart had the cheese plate.
Rhubarb crumble soufflé with rhubarb ripple ice cream: it was surprising how fast it arrived, as soufflés usually take at least 15-20 minutes but this was beautiful and very good. It seems like they always have a seasonal soufflé option on the menu and I am glad they do, as it was perfectly cooked, light,slightly tangy anddelicious.
Warm chocolate with hazelnuts and “caramac” ice cream: as soon as this arrived Vickie regretted just ordering her scoop of ice cream instead. The chocolate was a thicker mousse and was dark and rich and paired well with the caramac (traditional British candy bar with caramel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caramac) ice cream which was bordering on too sweet.
Cheese from the board (+ £5.50): very good selection and very good but not surprising as they buy them at my all time favourite cheese shop, La Fromagerie.
We were impressed that La Trompette has several sommeliers considering the size of the restaurant. But we didn’t require much assistance as Gareth is a wine connoisseur and we were in great hands. He even introduced us to a delicious German red, which I now fail to recall as I had several glasses…..
In sum: both of our friends who live in Chiswick described it well, a great spot for a neighbourhood restaurant with great quality at reasonable price for its quality. I agree – tasty food in a simple setting. Would I go all out if I was visiting London to go to Chiswick for the meal? Unlikely, but definitely a great local option. And on my statement that La Trompette is the best restaurant in Chiswick, I have just tried Foxlow and Trompette so am not a neighbourhood expert but I have consistently heard this from many friends who live in the area. They all have tried the awarded Hedone but said its fussy and too expensive.
La Trompette http://www.latrompette.co.uk/
5-7 Devonshire Rd, Chiswick W4 2EU
+4420 8747 1836