Restaurant Reminisces

Chiswick's food lovers take a delicious detour down memory lane

Related Links

Vote in the Chiswick Restaurant Poll


Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

A simple question sparked a wonderful trip down memory lane for many of Chiswick’s food lovers who shared their restaurant reminisces. From the huge response it’s clear that the most missed eatery in W4 is Southey’s closely followed by The Chiswick (now Gourmet Burger Kitchen) and Christian’s (now Reef).

Many others got a mention and some even shared a wonderful memory or two. Below are just some of the responses but be warned don’t read if you’re hungry!:

Beejay’s on Turnham Green Terrace was only opened for about 4 months but failed to attract a fashionable following. Served some of the best steaks I have ever had, though.

Café Med good reliable food t was always busy and I liked the atmosphere. But now The Brook (and all of its previous incarnations post-Cafe Med) usually looks empty and desolate.

Before getting married to my dear wife we used to go for Sunday lunches and Saturday evening meals at The Chiswick restaurant. It was the first restaurant in the area which tried to compete with the west end and did a really good job.

To this day we refer to The Chiswick when drinking a Bloody Mary as this was the special drink offered before your Sunday lunch. It’s now been replaced by the Gourmet Burger joint.

Christian’s– the best Cheese Souffles ever – the chocolate ones, when you could persuade him to make them, were awesome too!

The restaurant I miss the most is Christian's which used to be opposite Chiswick station on Burlington Lane. They served great food, especially the cheese souffle. We even had our wedding reception there!

I wonder how many Chiswick residents remember Conway’s, which was running in the late 80’s on the site where Gourmet Burger now stands? It was owned and run by a group of gay men and served fabulous food at a very reasonable price. The service was impeccable and the atmosphere really friendly. We dined there every week and were always greeted like old friends. We missed it very much when it closed and nothing has come up to its high standards since.

Conway’s by a country mile it was where the gourmet burger place now is.

Coyote Cafe was a family favourite for years - simple fun and perfect for lazy Saturdays.

One of our very favourites and much missed was Danieli on the High Road (next to Southey’s) owned by the wonderful Marcello, a talented Venetian who knew about food and just as importantly knew about gracious and professional service. He became ill , closed down then sadly died but from about 1987 to 1994 it was the best place to eat in Chiswick – crisp white tablecloths, elegant surroundings, really good ungimmicky Venetian fare – perfect for Sunday lunches and intimate dinners. It wasn’t cheap but it wasn’t silly either – much lamented, remembered with affection.

A great favourite with our family was Geetanjali which used to be a few doors up from the Acton Lane junction on the High Road. It gradually evolved from a few basic curries against a backdrop of red flock wallpaper in the 1970s to a more varied menu and more modern styling in keeping with the times. A take-away or meal in the restaurant became a Saturday evening ritual with my children whenever there was nothing else on.

I miss Ground the most. Their tasty meaty burgers, skinny fries and delicious courgette chips cannot be found again along the Chiswick High Street. Oh, and the seating was far more comfortable and plentiful than it is at GBK.

Kleftiko (the big one where Chez Gerard is now) always greeted like a much missed relative, melt in the mouth dishes and baklava to die for oh to have less chains on the High Road!

Mackintosh’s brilliant food, lovely atmosphere and both sets of parents insisted on going every time they visited and who were we to disagree!

Mow’s it was a simple, no-nonsense restaurant with good food and friendly owners. The other thing they had in common is that you could get a table on Friday evening; they were just never that full (which may be the reason why they went out of business!). Most passers-by scurried past, thereby missing chef Ray’s excellent dishes (even if the menu was a little limited). The prices were reasonable and owner David was very pleasant too.

Le Parisien the décor was a bit faux-French and DIY but the food was well prepared and Gilles and his wife always friendly.

Le Picotin in Elliot Road – the only truly affordable French restaurant in Chiswick when I came here in 1987. I remember they had crayons for children to scribble on the paper tablecloths.

Le Picotin (the nose bag) Nicky Macintosh's little bistro in Elliot Road - always brilliant, sadly missed.

I really miss Pug (now Frankie’s) It was a great restaurant, with excellent food at reasonable prices and a great ambiance.

Southey’s has to be the one. They did the most incredible Sunday Lunch (definitely no breakfast beforehand though). The beef was to die for and the cauliflower cheese and roast potatoes were just superb. The rest of the menu was also great – I never had a bad meal there. I still often think of it and have tried to find a substitute but haven’t found one yet.

My husband still mourns the loss of Southey’s. Their French onion soup was the best anywhere and their Sunday Lunches where amazing. Always too much food, but the standard is still unmatched. Sally and John are such characters and the mismatched furniture and decor made this a charming place to spend a wintry Sunday afternoon.

Southey’s with its double pork chops was a favourite with our young friends, and further back in time, what about Chiswick Grill for the old fashioned English dishes and reasonable prices (corner of Chiswick High road, Cranbrook Road ).

The one I really miss is Southey's and the formidable Sally. We were eating there one night when a very loud American lady demanded to know where the bathroom was. Not missing a beat, Sally replied, at even greater volume "Why, do you need a bath?"

Southey's was a great neighbourhood restaurant and I have many happy memories of dining there.

Southey's for sure - it was a must every couple of weeks and still would be if open - my husband went from the opening many years ago to the closing! Still tell Sally & John they should reopen whenever we bump into them around Chiswick.

A restaurant that brings back memories is Tart's Cafe, on or near the site of what was Southey's. Fantastically ornate, with crimson hangings like a Turkish restaurant - or perhaps something else - the burgers and the cocktails all had very suggestive names. Used to get taken there by a boyfriend I had in Chiswick when I lived in North London. Great fun, I was sad when it closed, probably 20 odd years ago now...

In the 1970s there was a restaurant in the basement where Tootsies was on CHR. It was called Tart's Cafe and served burgers etc in the manner of Joe Allen in Covent Garden (which was THE place to go for late night burgers). It stayed open well into the early hours and had a very eclectic decor but I can't quite picture it - at the time we would probably been very much the worse for wear by the time we got there.

There used to be a fantastic fish and chip shop in Acton Lane [anyone remember the name?] which was run by a Bet Lynch-type cockney woman - all bleached hair and attitude. The fish and chips were beautifully cooked - fresh, crispy, with mushy peas, curry sauce etc, but if you went in there she would start moaning about the world, and you'd find it hard to get out. I also recall she had a husband who she used to shout at a lot!

Other places which got more than one mention were Texas Lone Star, La Dordogne, Pasta & Basta, Ask, Taj Indian, Fish Hoek, Palatino and Oliver’s.

October 11, 2010