|Roebuck Takes Over from The Birdcage|
Opening night proves success and quite possibly produces the perfect chip!
Much was made about The Birdcage's future, whether the revamp was designed to distance loyal established clientele or whether Chiswick actually needed another gastro pub. However, now under the new management who chose one of the pub's former names to christen their new venture, such controversies were put aside for the opening of The Roebuck Pub and Dining Room on Wednesday 4th October.
Myself and three friends were a balanced party when we went along on the opening night with two of us knowing the pub from its Birdcage days and two of us with fresh eyes. However, we are all immediately taken by the smart eclectic mix of wooden tables, chairs and benches that surrounded the bar as we entered, with the muted tones on the walls adding to a sense of contemporary style.
Walking through the bar area brought us past an open kitchen to the sizeable dining room at the rear which was blessed with a good ventilation system ensuring none of the smoke from the bar made it through (just as well considering the fog that greeted us on our departure). Filled with more uniform wooden tables, chairs and banquettes along the side wall, the walls of the dining room presented the same muted tones running throughout leading the eye to what can only be described as The Roebuck’s piece de résistance - a magnificent garden filled with decorative wrought iron furniture and twinkling white lights so alluring it made one sad to be fast approaching a season too cold to suitably enjoy it.
The service showed no signs of first night nerves, was timely and pleasant with nothing being made of the fact that our order was slightly unconventional. The dinner menu comprised of five choices of starter priced from £5.00, six mains from £8.50, five sides dishes all priced at £3.00 and six deserts from £3.50. To start we shared chicken liver & foie gras parfait with wholemeal and chutney (£6.50) and chargrilled courgette & aubergine gratin with a red pepper coulis (£6.00). The parfait was rich, smooth and delicious and got a unanimous thumbs up. The gratin was slightly less successful. Whilst flavoursome we found the vegetables undercooked.
The mains however were an unqualified triumph. The Cumberland sausages, mash & onion gravy (£8.50) were spot on with the pan fried sea bass with marinated artichokes, sunblushed tomatoes, black olives and toasted pine nuts (£14.00) coming in at a very respectable second place. However, the out and out winner of the meal was without doubt the home cut chips (£3.00). Being a girl who knows her chips from her fries, The Roebuck’s come as close as it gets to my version of perfection.
For desert we shared affogato café (double espresso with a scoop of vanilla ice cream £3.50) and a warm chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate sauce (£5.00) both of which were decadently delectable.
We chose an Argentinean Malbec (£15.55) from a lengthy wines list of which some had helpfully been put into categories ranging from light and fruity to rich and spicy. With a preference for the latter we were delighted with our choice so much so we ordered a second bottle when the first disappeared all too quickly!
The bill came to £100.50 (without service) for two starters, three mains, two deserts, two bottles of wine and a bottle of sparkling water. (I itemise the bill to illustrate the four of us ate and drank very well indeed for £25 per head which we all agreed was worth every penny.)
Ms Jones said “Our philosophy is quality food, great service and a wonderful atmosphere.” It would seem from first impressions of The Roebuck that these aims have been achieved.
October 9, 2006