‘Sis­ter’ lives up to ex­pec­ta­tions

ADRIAN SEAL eats at Char­lotte’s W5, The Old Sta­ble Block, Dick­ens Yard, Eal­ing W5. Tel 020 3771 8722 www.char­lottes.co.uk

Harefield Gazette - - LEISURE -

IT was with ea­ger an­tic­i­pa­tion that I headed off to the new-born Char­lotte’s in the heart of Eal­ing al­though at the same time I was slightly con­fused with its web­site ‘this is not a restau­rant you don’t have to eat here’ state­ment. I need not have wor­ried how­ever, as this Char­lotte’s is ev­ery bit as se­ri­ous about the food it serves up as its two lit­tle sis­ters – Char­lotte’s Place on Eal­ing Com­mon and Char­lotte’s W4 in Chiswick.

Hav­ing en­joyed top notch ex­pe­ri­ences on pre­vi­ous vis­its to both you can un­der­stand my keen­ness to try out the new ad­di­tion to the fam­ily.

First im­pres­sions of Char­lotte’s W5 – which is si­t­u­ated in the new Dick­ens Yard De­vel­op­ment in Eal­ing town cen­tre – were favourable and you can’t fail to be im­pressed by the land­mark grand Vic­to­rian build­ing, once a sta­ble block, which houses the es­tab­lish­ment.

Once in­side the ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign does not dis­ap­point. From the mod­ern light and airy en­trance con­ser­va­tory to the cav­ernous 130 seater sta­ble yard area with its ex­posed brick walls, splen­did orig­i­nal con­crete floor­ing, Vic­to­rian win­dows and smart bar. The im­pres­sive large open kitchen is the work­horse of the place and in the warmer months the ter­race will open up, seat­ing an­other 70.

The main menu is in­ven­tive and en­tic­ing with most dishes of­fered as tasters, small or large plates and the em­pha­sis is very much on shar­ing, which I am all for. Keen to test out the kitchen’s met­tle for our lunch visit my part­ner Fiona and I went down the small plate’s route and from our spa­cious high ta­ble van­tage point over­look­ing the busy team of chefs we were im­pressed with the fairly seam­less ser­vice from pass to ta­ble.

Bites of flavour­some truf­fle arancini with ar­ti­choke puree (£3) got things off to a nice start and creamy bur­rata with but­ter­nut squash salad, pine nuts and sage (£7) were vi­brant and fresh on the pal­ette. How­ever, tastes of the sea in the form of oc­to­pus, con­fit egg yolk, bot­targa and crispy squid (£8) pre­sented chal­leng­ing and slightly con­fus­ing flavours on the plate.

The dishes, all per­fectly sea­soned, con­tin­ued to come at pace with gleam­ing well-cooked cod loin, kale and pars­ley mous­se­line com­bin­ing well al­though the lack of clams was dis­ap­point­ing; suc­cu­lent pork belly with a crack­ing crispy skin atop the meat, car­rot, anise and de­light­ful cheek frit­ters (£8) was bang on the money and su­perbly cooked lamb with basil curd, shal­lot puree and cavolo nero (£8) sat har­mo­niously to­gether on the plate.

A carafe of im­pres­sive Chi­anti (£17.25) from the Tus­cany re­gion nicely com­ple­mented the food.

Desserts were too tempt­ing to pass on and did not dis­ap­point. Tasters of hazel­nut tart, caramelised white choco­late ice cream (£3) and choco­late mousse with egg yolk ice cream and caramel sauce (£3) were heav­enly and per­fectly ex­e­cuted lit­tle treats.

Char­lotte’s W5 did live up to my ex­pec­ta­tions and apart from a cou­ple of mi­nor blips, the food is jolly good and its lit­tle sis­ters can be proud of the lat­est ad­di­tion to the fam­ily. And I also ad­mire its en­ter­pris­ing move to sat­isfy all from morn­ing coffee to late night diner and as the web­site says: “You’ve got home, you’ve got the of­fice, this is your ‘third place’ for work, play and ev­ery­thing in be­tween.”

DE­LIGHT­FUL DISHES: Bur­rata and but­ter­nut squash, oc­to­pus and crispy squid ( (left)l ) and mor­eish p pud­dingsg

n SPLEN­DID: Char­lotte’s W5 is housed in at­trac­tive old Vic­to­rian build­ing

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