Monday, 17 January 2011

Hereford Road Restaurant

Hereford Road Restaurant
You've probably got the message by now that I'm a big fan of all things St John - particularly 'Bread and Wine' and the Bakery.  Well, now the decision of where to go for a meal just got harder with my discovery of Westbourne Grove restaurant 'Hereford Road'.  This not being an area of London I naturally gravitate to, it has taken a while for me to get around to checking it out.  Well, more fool me.

Chef and co-owner Tom Pemberton was head chef at St John Bread and Wine, before before spreading his wings, which explains why I enjoyed it so much.  Occupying a space which was formerly a butcher's shop has provided a picture window complete with display counter, used to good effect to entice diners.  Inside the space starts narrow, with intimate tables for two facing the gleaming white-tiled open kitchen.  The area steps down into a wider dining room at the back.  The comfort level is a notch higher than anything St John would think necessary, but none the worse for that.

Menus are dictated by the seasons and change daily according to market availability.  Thankfully this is now becoming more common in London, though not often enough.  You will be fed robust British food, focused on carefully sourced ingredients simply prepared and served without fuss.  A particular delight is a starter of Soft Herring Roes on Toast.  A lot of thought goes into what-goes-with-what, as evidenced in dishes such as Beetroot, Sorrel and Cow's Curd, Duck Breast and Pickled Chicory, or Quail with Medlar jelly. Some main courses are intended for two, three or four to share - always a good sign, I think.

Puddings are done particularly well.  At this time of year for fruit we are reliant on our stores of apples so you would expect to find Apple Crumble, and very good it is served with vanilla ice cream.  Sticky Date Pudding, Brown Bread Ice Cream, or Chocolate Cake could be on the menu too, and perhaps Caramelised Quince Roll and Custard (a nice twist on Roly-Poly Pudding). Needless to say the cheeses are the best of British.  They don't seem to have found any English wines they are prepared to keep yet, but a reasonaby priced, mainly French, wine list offers some good ones by the glass, bottle or half-litre.  In addition to the main menu, there is a daily Set Lunch, with three choices at each course, at remarkable value for food of this quality, honesty and integrity - £13.00 for two course £15.50 for three.  If you are in a hurry, there is also a daily Express Lunch of a set main course, a glass of wine and coffee for £9.50.

The food is right up my street.  The welcome is warm.  Service is quietly efficient and sincere.  The bill, gratifyingly small.  I'm looking forward to my next meal.  Try it for yourself and see what you think.

Hereford Road
3 Hereford Road
Westbourne Grove
London  W2 4AB
Tel: 020 7727 1144