|The Italian Connection|
| We check out Chiswick's newest Eco restaurant
Eco pronounced 'eeeco' or 'echo'? Whichever, a bit like the E3, two have arrived on the High Road together.
This week was the turn of Eco the restaurant to open. Occupying the former Southey’s site, the new Italian in town seems to have been years in the renovating (which we’ve discovered was due to planning issues when the new owners wanted to extend the premises).
The refit has resulted in striking stained glass windows on the exterior and a cavernous space within. An undulating ceiling, which is really quite low in parts, makes a strong a statement as does the pale wooden banquette which lines the left hand wall and sits opposite the open linear kitchen to the right. Darker wooden tables are set in a precise line on the blue wood floor giving the overall ambience a not altogether welcoming feel.
No such problem though with the charismatic head chef / manager Amos who came over to introduce himself keen to talk about the Eco brand and fill us in on why it had taken so long to open. The waitresses are as authentic as the Italian food they serve although I would imagine their lack of English, for which one of the waitresses apologised more than once, could become an issue when the restaurant is busy.
We visited Eco for lunch on its second day of opening and my companion, who had the choice of all the tables in the restaurant, chose one close the window so we could enjoy the winter sun streaming through the glass.
We ordered carpaccio of beef with rocket, parmesan and capers £5.25 and grilled king prawns served with rocket leaves, spicy dressing & garlic £6.50 followed by goat’s cheese & grilled vegetable platter (goat’s cheese, courgette, aubergine, red pepper, fennel, artichoke & puy lentils) £9.50 and grilled salmon served with a salsa verde, artichokes and spinach salad £11.95.
We found all four dishes almost impossible to fault both on presentation and taste and were both happy with our choice. That was until the man sitting at nearby table was served a delicious looking pizza and, whilst double checking the menu for purposes of writing this review, I realised I had no puy lentils in my dish but clearly didn’t miss them at the time of eating.
We drank two glasses of Australian Merlot at £3.50 each, two glasses of tap water (credit here must go to he who wouldn’t want to be named but who has been preaching about the evils of bottled water long before Panorama jumped on the bandwagon) and a £1.90 cappuccino each bringing the bill to £59.40 including service.
Eco does have a few teething problems with its service, little things like the menus not being taken away, two people wanting to take the same order and larger ones like the language barrier however this was only their second day of opening therefore a few should be expected. The food was above average but very similar to that offered by Strada for around the same price.
Eco’s sister restaurant in Clapham opened in 1993 and has become a local landmark in SW4. Whether or not being an above average Italian is enough to become something similar in Chiswick will remain to be seen.
NB. When we visited, the restaurant couldn’t take credit cards.