Top chef joins the team at High Road House gets a preview of what's happening in the house

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With Chiswick's first private members club set to open later this month, I had the pleasure of meeting up with High Road House's newly installed general manager, Jon Laycock, on site to see how plans were progressing.

Jon, who has worked for the Soho House Group for some years, was full of enthusiasm for this latest venture "We're really excited about being here in Chiswick, we just want to get open and settle into our new surroundings."

Although the building's frontage was still very much work in progress when I visited, Jon was able to help me visualise the finished product with the help of mock ups. 

Vibrant turquoise awnings will replace the former Foubert's yellow and shelter the brasserie's al fresco diners from the elements.  Inside the High Road Brasserie, a colourful concoction of mismatched tiles were being laid and will complement the luxurious leather banquet, vast antique mirror and pewter bar. 

The High Road Brasserie will also feature a Seafood Bar serving, amongst others, oysters and lobsters that will also be available to take out.

All sounds very stylish, but Jon is keen to stress that High Road Brasserie's - indeed the entire High Road House - concept is all about offering a home from home.

"It's all about creating a light and informal environment with good service and excellent food.  You can come here to have coffee and pastries, weekend brunch or a three course meal - whatever you feel like."

High Road Brasserie will open on weekdays from 7.00am until midnight, Saturday and Sunday from 8.00am until 1.00am with breakfast served until midday, brunch at weekends from midday to 5pm.  A sample of the All Day Menu includes Merguez sausages and sautéed potatoes, Vichysoisse, Moules Marinieres, Halibut Viennoise, spinach & veloute, Pea & Pecorino risotto, Red mullet with shrimps, lemon butter, Pyrenean black pig chop £15, Veal cutlet, Roquefort butter and Mutton chops, parsley & caper sauce.

All the talk of food brought us to the appointment of Stephen Beadle as Head Chef for "Upstairs in the House" and "Downstairs in the House" the two areas for private members and hotel guests.

Formerly of The River Cafe, Stephen Beadle, bid farewell to his female mentors to bring to High Road House his intuitive ability to create simple but sensational dishes using locally sourced seasonal ingredients.  "We're so pleased Stephen is here with us, he's a genius when it comes food.  He doesn't complicate things by using a lot of ingredients which means he produces great dishes that are both simple and delicious."

With having to taste test his dishes of Cornish crab, shaved fennel and celery salad, herb mayonnaise, Seared scallops with capers, tomato and bread salad, Grilled veal chop, braised haricot beans and tomato, green sauce and Pan fried calves liver with bacon, sage and peas on the menu, it's easy to see why Jon is such an admirer.

As we made our way back to the ground floor, we took a quick look at the Cowshed, a small retail outlet offering a collection of 100% vegetarian Cowshed products, made using hand picked herbs from the walled garden at Babington House. Although the original plans included a spa, it was decided that the space was better used in the Brasserie.  For those unfamiliar with the Cowshed brand, it is a range of products made from a delicate blend of herbal infusions and essential oils from around the world. According to the therapists, the levels of essential oils bear a therapeutic value and can ease skin irritation, stimulate circulation and relieve stress.

High Road House will host a Founder Member's party on Saturday 22nd July (by invitation only) with the High Road Brasserie and Cowshed opening on Wednesday 26th July.


Emma Brophy

July 1, 2006