|The Hole in the Wall|
Emma Brophy discovers some things are worth going off the beaten track for
At a time when Chiswick was a wasteland of pizza and pasta joints interspersed with rather unwholesome pubs, local couple Lucie and Jason saw the need for a decent bar and an idea was born.
Now, three years on from when Lucie’s father first spotted a “for sale” sign outside the then far from salubrious Hole in the Wall, the couple have refurbished, built a successful business and earned an enviable reputation for serving good food at a fair price.
Lucie and Jason certainly appear to have it all, success, energy and boundless enthusiasm for what they do. And, considering they were one of the leading lights in the gastro-fication of Chiswick, one would be forgiven for assuming that they would much older than they actually are.
With a 12 year history in bars, restaurants and hotels, Lucie and Jason met when they opened a bar for a large hotel chain. Knowing that they would never make any serious money working for someone else, they embarked on a three year search to find a suitable site to open their own bar which ended at the Hole in the Wall.
Although the Hole in the Wall is predominantly food led (which the space best lends itself to), two bars and a fabulous garden complement the large non-smoking dining room.
The menus – lunch, dinner, Sunday lunch and desert – change every three weeks and are the responsibility of their South African Head Chef Brandon Louwrens.
Starters priced from £4.50 include marinated baby squid with a fennel & orange chutney, chicken liver pate with beetroot syrup, white onion marmalade and toast and smoked chicken & mango tian served with rocket in a honey mustard dressing.
Lunch mains range from £5.00 for a goat’s cheese salad with red chard and almonds to £11.00 for rump steak (Macken’s finest) with Lyonnais potatoes, roasted tomato and a mushroom sauce. (I can personally vouch for the Hole in the Wall lamb burger with home made mint chutney and home made chips - £8.50’s worth of deliciousness!). Sunday Lunches are very popular and, unlike many other pubs, you can book a table.
The dinner menu is more extensive with dishes including sea bream with gnocchi and snake beans £12.50, herb crusted rack of lamb with rosti potatoes and roasted root vegetables £16.00.
Vegetarians are well catered with choices including tagliatelle pasta with sun blush tomatoes, asparagus, tarragon and pine nuts in a garlic and herb sauce £10.00 and Upside down mushroom, leek and thyme pie, served with vegetables of the day £12.00.
Desserts from £5.50 include mixed berry and mascarpone cheese tartlet, William pear poached in a red wine and sweet spices and crème Anglais and pistachio crème brulee.
A succinct, well priced wine list is offered which, as a nod to their cocktail bar days, includes a first-class selection of champagnes. Desert wines, cognac, whisky and liqueur coffees are also available.
Children are welcome in the dining room and dogs welcome in the garden if they are kept on a lead.
With two roaring fires warming the interior when it's cold and a wonderful garden to catch the sun when it's not, The Hole in the Wall may be slightly off the beaten track but the diversion is without a doubt worth it.
March 24, 2007