Food Is Still The Feather In The Cap For Little Bird

Anne Flaherty makes a return visit to the restaurant in Grove Park

interior of Little Bird


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

Eating Out in Chiswick

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When it opened two years ago, 'Little Bird' described itself as a cocktail bar with 'grazing and sharing' plates.This somehow gives the impression that the food comes in second place to the alcohol, but to my mind this does their menu a disservice.

This is not a bar-led place which offers scotch eggs or burgers to mop up the copious amounts of alcohol they hope you will consume. At Little Bird, they somehow persuade you that you can combine the decadence of botanical cocktails with they a flavourful dining experience. Since Little Bird opened two years ago in Chiswick, Lorraine Angliss has since added to her stable of restaurants (Annie's, Rock & Rose) with a south of the river Little Bird in Battersea.

The food menu is innovative, fresh, light, delicious, and generously portioned. While it still sticks to its original theme of Mediterranean tapas, the menu has now added a number of very on-trend Asian dishes, such as Pork Gyoza ( dumplings) and Chicken San Choi Bau.

We arrived on a cold, grey evening and I was cheered by the tropical parlour interior, with its mirrors, velvet sofas, and twinkling lamps. We were given a very friendly welcome from Joe, who looked after us very well- the service is friendly and attentive. Since my last visit they have introduced some more tables and chairs, probably more suitable for groups, though I was happy to take one of the sofas in the corner and have the food served on a low table.

We started with two cocktails. Being a creature of habit I opted for my favourite, the Southsider, a gin-based cocktail with elderflower, prosecco and crushed mint. It reminded me of summer and sundowners. My companion was tempted by a cocktail with the intriguing name of A Walk In The Park. We were nicely relaxed as we perused the menu and I was relieved that while there had been some additions, some old favourites still remained.

Another welcome addition to the menu is the fact that dishes are marked if they are gluten-free. This saves a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to the kitchen by the staff checking with the chef. Personally I would like to see a few more gluten free options -I'm guessing this could happen if substitutions were made, particularly in the Asian inspired dishes. We decided that four or five plates of food would probably suffice.

We ordered the Mediterranean favourite Arancini, an Italian dish of risotto rice balls and mozzarella cheese, dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and deep fried. The exterior was crunchy and salty, which contrasted nicely with the rich, rice interior, and was balanced with the lemon aioli.

A dish of Squid came lightly coated in salt and pepper breadcrumbs, fresh and slightly chewy, with a slight peppery aftertaste. It only needed a squeeze of of lime but there was also a sweet chilli sauce which came in a little ceramic bowl.

Thinking we should have something carnivorous, we chose lamb brochette which came served on flatbread with a tzakziki (yoghurt and cucumber). I was really pleased with the lamb as so often lamb on a skewer can be toothgrindingly chewy. This was really very tender, had been well marinated and I could have eaten twice as much.

It is difficult to know how many dishes to order with this sort of menu. An average of four or five is probably enough for two people, but if you do need more, there is the option to keep ordering as the dishes appear at speed from the tiny kitchen.

Halloumi cheese, served with rocket, and toasted pine nuts, came served in a bowl, a little overdrenched in dressing. I preferred it in its previous incarnation , when it came served on a plate with courgettes, pesto and pinenuts.

As we wanted to go right through the gamut of flavours, we opted for the Chicken San Choi Bau. This is a classic chinese dish of minced chicken (or pork) cooked with ginger, garlic, soy, and oyster sauce. It is served wrapped in lettuce leaves, garnished with chopped peanuts. The recipe can be varied, with the addition of mushrooms, coriander and chilli, and its success lies in the contrasting texture of smooth crunchy lettuce with its sweet and savoury filling. We wolfed this down pretty speedily.

To complement the food, we opted for large glasses of white wine, a Sauvignon blanc for me, and Chardonnay for my dining companion. There is an extensive wine and cocktail list.

For dessert we opted to share a flourless chocolate cake, and I really don't know how we managed to polish it off, but somehow we did. It came served with vanilla ice cream and was somewhere between a squidgy brownie and a mousse cake. Very moreish.

Lorraine Angliss is owner of Little Bird

To sum up, I love the food and I love the ambiance at Little Bird. it's still a great place for a girl's night out, but if there are chaps, they won't go home hungry. I think they have got the balance just right, it's a place to come for a bit of tropical sunshine in the grey gloomy days of winter. I just wish they would do a Sunday brunch too.


Anne Flaherty

December 8, 2018

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