|Villandry Gets Off To Promising Start|
Nick Montagu discovers 'an agreeable place which is well worth revisiting'
Villandry Kitchen’s latest branch, where Ground was in Chiswick High Road, has got off to a promising start.
At lunchtime on its first Saturday [6th February] it was full and buzzing, but with the noise at a congenial, rather than intolerable, level.
We were welcomed by one member of staff after another with that slightly frenetic bonhomie which betokens a recent opening (in fact, last Tuesday).
The service didn’t quite match the welcome – there was a slight air of headless chickens, and we had to wait longer for our food than was really justifiable – but it was uniformly eager and friendly.
Food reflected the early stages too – good, but could do better. The menu is the standard Villandry offering, an attractive mix of snacks, lighter and sharing dishes and more substantial mains, with some daily specials.
My wife’s tartiflette had the right flavour but was slightly overcooked and, to be critical, didn’t have quite enough cheese – this is a dish that should take the calorie count off the scale.
My steack haché was also spot-on on texture and flavour, apart from being rather under-salted. It was cooked pretty rare, which is how I happen to like it: someone who preferred theirs more well-done might have wondered why they weren’t asked how they wanted it. Excellent chips accompanied it, but – a real let-down – mayonnaise out of a jar. In a place like this there’s no excuse for failing to provide home-made.
The bill for this lot, with a large glass of red wine and one of elderflower cordial, plus coffee and bread (pricy at £3.25, but a generous and exceptionally good selection) came to £34.15 without service.
All in all, an agreeable place which is well worth revisiting. It faces tough competition in that part of the High Road but, once it settles down and gets its act together, I hope we’ll see it here to stay.