Good Food Is The 'Wind Beneath The Wings' At Little Bird

Anne Flaherty reviews the eclectic new tapas restaurant in Grove Park


Little Bird, 1 Station Parade, Burlington Lane, Chiswick, W4 3HD Tel: 020 3145 0894

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When I heard that Lorraine Angliss (Annie's, Rock & Rose) was to open a 'Mediterranean style street tapas' restaurant in Grove Park, I had a vision of overpriced tiny plates of olives and bite-sized skewered chicken. Would this go down well with the hearty appetites of Chiswickians I wondered?

Little Bird Exterior

I need not have worried. Though 'Little Bird' puts a focus on itself as a cocktail bar with 'grazing and sharing' plates, I think they could equally put emphasis on the food. It is innovative, fresh, light, delicious, and generously portioned.

little bird bar area

The kitchen is headed up by Michelle Lepherd who has previously worked at the River Café and she has introduced not just a European, but also an Asian style to the tapas dishes. It's a great addition to Station Parade, this particular site having been in the doldrums for a while, firstly as a fish restaurant and latterly as a cafe which closed quite a while ago.

The interior is eclectic to say the least- it is like entering a tropical parlour, with palm trees, , mirrors, sofas and twinkling lamps. It is apparently inspired by Kew Gardens and the white walls and grey slate floors, give a neutral backdrop to a riot of colour in the chairs, cushions and plants. There is a bar to the left of the entrance and there are tables dotted around the front room. In the summer, the tables on the front pavement were very popular, and there is al fresco dining at the back.

A narrow hallway takes you from the front through to a back conservatory style dining area which then opens out to a garden. Space is a little tight inside but the designers have cleverly used a variety of seating and tables (sofas and armchairs with low tables) to create a cosy feeling. This is so much better than structured rows of tables inches away from each other.

Little bird chiars and tables

My table was in the narrow 'hallway' , and it was fine, as long as the conservatory door was kept shut- the night was a little chilly.

I ordered a peach bellini while I waited for my dining companion. The place was buzzing, and the staff were kept on their toes, though every time they passed by my table they had to duck under a large potted palm tree.

Little Bird tuna

We were advised that three 'tapas' plates per person would probably be a good idea, but of course this all depends on your appetite. Four dishes between two could easily suffice. Here's what we decided on; Seared Scallops, with Shredded Leek & Lemongrass Beurre Blanc; Whole Crispy Sea Bass with Chilli, Basil & Ginger; Tuna Ceviche with Avocado and Corn Chips; Grilled Halloumi with Courgettes, Pesto and Pine Nuts. Each dish is priced at between £8-£10.

The menu also includes heartier fare such as Red Duck Curry, Lamb Shoulder with Cannellini Beans, Angus Beef Sliders, and BBQ Baby Ribs.

Halloumi with courgettes, pesto and pine nuts

The food is delicious. The tuna was melt-in- the mouth and believe me, I had to be persuaded by my friend to try it, as I am not a fan of raw tuna. The pairing of the soft fish with crushed avocado was perfect. The next dish was Halloumi, which can often be a bit salty, but this was creamy and nicely chewy, served on a black plate with courgettes and crunchy pine nuts scattered on top of the cheese. The sea bass was served whole, with a very crispy skin covering the beautifully fresh, tender white flesh. Scallops were a little disappointing- two came on the plate and there was hardly any taste of lemongrass coming through the beurre blanc.


Sea bass

I had on a previous visit, tasted the Teriyaki Salmon Fillet, the Chicken with Coriander Mayo, and the Miso broccoli and all of these were excellent.

Despite the extensive list of cocktails, we opted for a bottle of white wine, but I fully intend to return and try some of their creations. The signature is the Little Bird cocktail of Vanilla & Ginger Infused Red Leg Rum, Passion Fruit, Cassis, Pineapple, and Phillip Bertrand Brut Blanc de Blanc. There are also classics such as Pina Colada and Whiskey Sours as well as Daiquiris and Martinis.

chocolate fondant

For dessert, we opted for a Warm Chocolate fondant & Honeycomb Ice Cream, and I have heard good things about the Salted Caramel Popcorn Cheesecake. There was also Affogado (vanilla ice cream with espresso coffee) and a bread and butter pudding.

The service was friendly but on this particular night, there was an unexpected staffing problem and it was patchy until reinforcements were drafted in, when everything began to run more smoothly. I was also glad to see the staff were up to the minute on food allergies - this was very important to me as I am gluten-free and many of the dishes use soy sauce.

Lorraine Angliss is owner of Little Bird

Overall, I really enjoyed my trip to Little Bird. I loved the food and I loved the ambiance. It's contemporary with a feminine feel - and I think it's a perfect place for a girl's night out. I think that Chiswick chaps, even those who normally opt for steak and chips, might also fall for its charms. I think' Little Bird' might just have hit on a winning formula.


Anne Flaherty

Little Bird has now engaged mixicologist Benji Burslow for a Thursday evening masterclass when he will be creating floral botanical cocktails.


November 9, 2016

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