Sunday, 23 January 2011

[Restaurant - French] Villandrybreeze; Villandry Kitchen of Chiswick

Location - Chiswick, London [UK]

In what would reveal itself to be a slight twist of fate -

- yesterday we happened across the aforementioned Villandry Kitchen in Chiswick. Originally we were due to dine at Chakalaka just down the road, sorely tempted by the thought of eating slabs of obscure meat and diverse sounding desserts. Though, it was not to be as apparently, literally the day before, the restaurant was seized for offending PETA with their Zebra-themed decor or something or other. So, no issue, there'd be plenty of choice available to us in this chic little town. Though, as we found out, only if you want the stereotypical French Bistrot type restaurant, running into no less than 4 or 5 such establishments.

Further temptation was had when La Trompette turned out to be fully booked, leaving us right in front of the divine Oriental Brasserie. NEIN! We quipped, lets try something new, so onto Villandry. The name struck me as familiar for some reason, I could not quite pin down why though, so, meh, we ventured forth as it sounded moderately more interesting than Cafe' Rouge, Zizzi's et al. Relatively bustling and rustic-ish atmosphere, but plainly a chain. Menu more or less matched what all the other Bistrot restaurants were serving, so we basically opted for the Day's specials. I ate a vegetarian dish [ignoring the starter]. I was that distraught by my denial of sinking teeth into some endangered species at the originally planned restaurant. The overall experience wasn't terrible, perhaps not terribly "French" perse' [ooh rather!], service was occasionally absent, and dessert dessappointed [HAH!], but otherwise, not a bad experience. Let me explain.

~ Starter ~
- Wild Boar Terrine

I should really stop ordering terrine's as I always seem to get underwhelmed by them - I'm not quite sure what I expect out of them in terms of flavour, but I always seem to want more. Not to say that the terrine was infact bad, but, is it literally just a big slice of cold mottled minced meat? The "spiced" orange confit [or reduced orange slice and juice] worked well, together with the sourdough toast, but, I don't know what to expect. It is quite nice, but it is essentially just a pate' of meat, that doesn't elicit anything special, but it is very comforting food regardless. Especially when it is served as a CD Case sized slab.

~ Main Course ~
- Pumpkin & Chestnut Fricassee

Spurred by the aforementioned meat-deprived depression, I opted for - heavens - a vegetarian dish, though, face palms at dawn when a pizza sized pie came forth. I was not the only one, Huzaifah seemed to have been brought a baked dolphin instead of a sea bass. Ah. Ah well, puff pastry, chestnut, pumpkin and courgette stuffing, ready to plunge my face into said concoction, all the while not trying to alert the fellow eaters with my non-conformist eating method.

And then, the anti-climax, probably for the better - the fricassee was not stuffed to within bursting capacity. Shame, as despite not too much sweetness permeating through the chestnut and pumpkin, it was a nice dish. The cream sauce was light, the pastry was obviously light - since when have you seen a heavy Poof, err, puff - I think you can see where this is heading. The more I ate, the higher the plate floated, so I had to weigh it down with some lead shot, but it was otherwise pleasant. I did not finish it however as I wanted to seriously pig out on some notoriously elaborate French dessert...

~ Dessert ~
- Plum Tarte with Creme Fraiche

On receiving the dessert though, my notions of being Porky Pig were dashed, as the portion was underwhelming. MEH! Regardless, it wasn't bad - I was not terribly impressed with the pastry itself, not that I can tell the difference by taste, but it didn't seem home-made, maybe it was, I don't know, but that's the impression I got. The plum punched through the sour creme fraiche quite nicely, but it was all over too soon and I needed more. MOAR.

~ Drinks ~
- Chateau de Cerons Dessert Wine

A refreshing but light-hearted dessert wine, I think I remember some apple notes in the bouquet, and pretending to know what that meant, with a crisp and fresh taste. Very light but it combined well with the dessert. Err, yeah.


So. Mostly delightful food, decent portions on the most part, some lacking service [who cares] and that all draws up to a drybreeze experience, a breath of fresh air. Quite nice. Why was it a twist of fate? A pending journey to Bicester Village drew up just two restaurants [well 3 now] available, one of which is Villandry! Hah. Check one off the list. I live a dangerously uneventful life.


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