Love Blossoms Between Chisou And Reviewer Jackie

A spring delight at Chiswick's newest Japanese restaurant

1-4 Barley Mow Passage, W4 4PH
020 8994 3636
Open for lunch Mon-Fri 12pm-2:30pm
Sat 12pm-3pm

Read more of Jackie's reviews and food thoughts on her website


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Ah spring. Is there really anything better than springtime in London? After all those months of cold, bitter winter and of rushing from one warm building to another, to be able to stroll in the sunshine on the high street or simply laze for an hour or two amongst lush green grass whilst cherry blossom rains down upon you is a blessing indeed. Yes, spring is a wonderful time, promising new beginnings and, of course, a whole new season of eating.

The cherry blossom in West London may not bloom so brightly as in Japan but, happily, newly opened restaurant Chisou brings with it a swish, sophisticated, modern twist on the traditional and an entirely welcome addition to the Chiswick dining scene. Honestly? I'd rather be eating there than watching the sakura in Japan, no matter how beautiful it is.

Located down Barley Mow Passage, Chisou is a beautiful and deceptively large venue. The downstairs space seats maybe 25-30 and features all wood furnishings and traditional paper lanterns, whilst the upstairs boasts red leather booths and a distinctly more plush feel, perfect for a private party or meal to impress.

With two other locations in Mayfair and Knightsbridge, the Chisou team know exactly what they're doing and this was reflected from start to finish of the meal to the finish. "Slick," was how my companion for the evening, TS, described the staff as we were guided through each platter, empty dishes whisked away and replaced with new ones effortlessly. Indeed, the staff are friendly and efficient, if a little mechanical in their actions, but then what else would you expect from a well-oiled machine?

The food was, frankly, a delight. We had somewhat over-ordered for two and I left feeling absolutely stuffed but there was no sense of hurry as we made our leisurely way through plate after loaded plate. Particular stand-out favourites were the saikyo yaki (miso black cod, always a favourite of mine), the gohin sashimi (a chef's selection of fresh sashimi) and the hamachi truffle (glorious fresh yellowtail sashimi, wrapped around a selection of fine herbs and watercress, topped with a truffle sauce). With the latter, perhaps the flavour of the truffle was a tad on the overpowering side for the delicate hamachi but still thoroughly enjoyable and exhibiting Chisou's signature nouveau twist.

I was also very happy to see that not only did Chisou offer a good selection of sake (rice wine, served both hot and cold) but also a fairly decent collection of umeshu (plum liquor), which we greatly enjoyed with our meal; may more Japanese restaurants follow suit!

Chisou is a little on the pricier side, running at around £50-60 per person (including drinks), but as portions are large (all are meant to be shared), fish fresh and hot dishes cooked to perfection, I can't really find fault with it.

Over the course of the evening I watched the restaurant fill up to capacity, both with newcomers and regulars to the other Chisou locations, so apparently in the short amount of time that the venue has been open it appears to have already made somewhat of an impression on Chiswickians; I'd book ahead for this one or be disappointed. Chisou was, quite simply, a delicious delight; thank God for Spring and new beginnings.

Jackie Lee

April 2, 2012

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