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Sam's Brasserie, Restaurant Review London

Sam’s Brasserie
11 Barley Mow Passage
London W4 4PH

Tel: 020 8987 7389

Traditionally London is meant to be dead in the summer, what with it being the school holidays and everyone supposedly away. However, when I headed westward over to leafy Chiswick and Sam’s Brasserie for dinner one mid-week evening in August, I found a restaurant that was far from quiet.

Tucked away just off the high street, this converted wallpaper factory is the sort of place one might expect to encounter Ross, Rachel and the rest of the Friends cast at play. The atmosphere is lively and fun, filled with groups of casually dressed thirty something’s, who look like they’re up for a good time. If you are looking for a candlelit dinner a deux I would suggest elsewhere. However, this also makes a great venue for a first date as there is so much going on that I think it would keep any awkward silences at bay.

The environment is a eclectic mix of open-plan and industrial, with comfortable bench seating, polished concrete floors, modern architectural overtones and original Peter Blake artwork on the walls (the rumour being he is a regular diner here).

When it came to the food there was a choice of ten starters, ten main courses and ten puds. A daily changing set menu is also on offer which if you are watching the prices makes everything a bit more affordable. Starters included Cornish mussels with tomato, chilli, garlic and baby spinach and bruschetta with warm mushroom and goat’s cheese. My guest’s grilled squid salad was pronounced tender and with just the right touch of spice (spring onion, chilli and coriander). I began with a very authentic and rustic terrine. It was crammed full of wonderful herby meaty flavours including guinea fowl, duck liver and pancetta, and served with a velvety pistachio mayonnaise and crisp toast.

When it came to what to drink there was plenty of choice of wines at all prices, including an impressive selection by the glass. We selected a Claret - Chateaux Teyssier, Grand Cru St. Emilion 2005, £39.50. My guest commenting that it was fairly priced, with its raw hedgerow overtones and well balanced acid and tannins in good measure.

For my main course I chose a slow roast pork belly with sweet potato mash, spring greens and apple sauce. It was very attractively and artistically presented, the crispy pork skin mingling beautifully with the other intense flavours of the palate. My guest had a plate of thick cut veal. She said it was beautifully charred on the outside and pink in the middle. A decent portion, with well cooked spinach, onion rings and a pile of creamy mash.

To finish I tried the unusually named poached pear with lemon financier, with vanilla ice cream and amaretto syrup. After an already substantial two previous courses this was a light and moreish end to my meal, the lemon cutting through any sweetness to provide a feeling of well-being. My guest concluded with a heavenly plate of sticky toffee pudding served with vanilla ice cream, almond meringue and toffee sauce. With this she tried a glass of chilled Sauterne Chateau Petit Vedrines 2004 which with its honied and well-balanced flavours seemed a pleasing and refreshing conclusion.

Sam’s Brasserie is very much a popular locals hangout. Somewhere you can go in a large group and experience a relaxed vibe in a comfy, laid back setting.

Louise Elgin.
September 2009.

A three course meal for two with wine and water is around £120.00.

Set dinner menu
Available all evening Sunday to Thursday
6.30 to 7.30pm Friday and Saturday
Two courses and a bottle of wine for 2 - £45.00
Three courses and a bottle of wine for 2 - £50.00

Set lunch menu
Two courses £12.00
Three course £15.00

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