‘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
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