Celebrity champagne reception launches new eatery
I cannot pretend that receiving an invitation from Frankie Dettori and Marco Pierre-White to join them for a champagne reception is something that happens to me everyday. Therefore when I took delivery of said invite to the opening night party of their latest venture in Chiswick, I was rather excited.
Now fully open on the old Pug site adjacent to The Power House on the High Road, Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill is the brain child of the somewhat odd pairing of three Michelin star owning restaurateur Marco Pierre White and champion jockey Frankie Dettori. The disparate duo have already established Frankie’s in Knightsbridge and are planning to open another branch in Islington and well as franchises in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
In Chiswick, the familiar courtyard, albeit with paparazzi for the opening night, is the only remaining memory of Pug. From the moment you enter this ‘Italian family restaurant’, you are transported into an extravagant world of mirrors. There are mirrors everywhere! From the entrance to the large bar area – this is definitely not the place to come when you’re having a bad hair day!
Not having ever visited the other Frankie’s I was totally taken aback by the sumptuous feast of oversized glitter balls hanging from the ceiling and gold mirrored walls that greeted me upon entering the considerable dining room. Beautiful people, most of whom looked like they had been imported from SW3, adorned dark leather arm chairs – I have to admit to expecting Sean Connery’s Bond to enter the joint at any moment. Somewhat reminiscent of a high class casino, the décor is an eclectic mix of 70’s ballroom and Art Deco glamour.
In contrast to the glitzy surrounds, the menu is more down to earth. I would have liked to comment on how the food tasted, but there was none on offer aside from the odd mini-pizza canapé that came my way therefore I shall relay details from the menu I pilfered.
Antipasti of Calamari & Zucchini Fritti at £6.50 and Carpaccio of Beef alla Frankie’s at £8.50 sound delicious as does the Insalate of Tuna & Fagioli beans (available as start or main course £6.50 / £8.50). Pasta dishes include Gnocchi Cotechino and Linguine alla Sorrentina, again available in two portion sizes, start from £5.75. Grills include Salmon, Tuna and Sea Bream in addition to Veal, Duck, Steak and of course the renowned Frankie’s Burger. Chiswick’s menu shows no sign of the famous Frankie’s pizzas although whether their exclusion is just for the interim remains to be seen.
The wine begins with a selection of champagnes and continues with a comprehensive choice of predominantly Italian Bianchi, Bardolino and Rossi wines with the odd Bordeaux and Cote du Rhone thrown in for good measure. Guests were treated to Presecco Spago Frizzante, a sweet sparkling white that is offered at £22.00 a bottle or £3.85 a glass.
The highlight of my evening was meeting the famous jockey himself. With charm and charisma enough for a man twice his stature, the divine Mr Dettori welcomed all his guests with equal zeal. When asked by my companions how I found him, I replied “He’s a lovely man, you can’t help but like him and boy does he smell good!”
His aromatic appeal, apparently, is down to his recently launched scent for men called ‘Dettori’, which the entrepreneurial jockey was also managing to promote as his worked the room – maybe it was a good thing that the fiery Marco-Pierre White proved tricky to spot amongst the revellers!
September 5, 2005