|Cote Of Many Flavours|
Why Cote has won the Chiswick vote
For many years, when it came to French cuisine, Chiswick was particularly well served by established restaurants such as La Dordogne and Le Parisien. But when their doors closed, reliably good French fare faded from the W4 menu… until the opening of Côte. Inspired by bistro-style cooking, it has proved to be a hugely popular addition to Chiswick’s thriving dining scene. Never having eaten at Cote before, we were curious to see just why.
The former Lone Star site on Turnham Green Terrace has been transformed. The fading, over-sized Red Indian and badly positioned doorway are long gone; instead, the site has been cleverly re-designed with subtlety the name of the game. An elegant entrance sets the tone for a light and airy contemporary interior with oak-finish tables that hint at the style of a classic bistro.
Having been warmly welcomed by Monica and introduced to Adam, our waiter for the evening, we sipped a glass of Blanc de Blancs Brut with a tipple of creme de cassis (£3.70 125ml glass/£19.95 bottle) and explored the menu. There’s certainly plenty of choice for all tastes: my wife opted for the lunch and early evening menu (two courses for £9.95/ three courses for £11.90), while I stayed with the extensive main menu.
To start, my wife chose mussels cooked with white wine, garlic, shallots, parsley and fresh cream, followed by what sounded an intriguing vegetarian option of sautéed butternut squash and chickpea cake served with baby spinach salad, whole grain mustard sauce and a warm poached egg.
I decided on an old favourite as a starter, namely calamari breadcrumbed and sauted in garlic, lemon and parsley (£5.95). Spoilt for choice with the mains, I toyed with the roast duck breast before eventually plumping for medium rare fillet steak with pepper sauce (£17.95).
The wine list really is something to behold. It has clearly been put together with immense care and expertise, with prices ranging from £14.50 a bottle to a push-the-boat-out Chateau d’Issan 2007 Margaux at £68.00. I was delighted to see three of my favourite wines listed: a Sancerre le petit Broux 2010 les Celliers de Ceres (£29.95), a Chablis 1 Er Cru Montmain 2011 Domaine Pico Race (£34.95) and a Fleurie 2011 la Bonne Dame (£27.50).
Since our choice of dishes was rather varied, we followed Adam’s advice and started with a glass of Sauvignon blanc la Place 2011 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne (£4.95 175ml glass/£19.95 bottle). The steak just had to be accompanied by a red and again we were delighted with Adam’s recommendation of a Côtes du Rhone rouge 2011 le pas de La Beaume (£5.65 175ml glass/£22.95 bottle). Attention to detail is everything and even the bottle of water was delivered in an exquisite earthen-looking bottle jar – a nice touch.
My calamari was cooked to perfection, light, fluffy and with all the succulent lemon flavours present and correct. My wife’s mussels were outstanding. Not only fresh and juicy but, we agreed, the sauce was simply the best that we’ve ever tasted. With this dish it can so often be too tangy and watery; this one had a beautifully creamy finish and was wonderfully subtle.
The accompanying white wine, with its gooseberry, grass and fresh lime finish, wouldn’t ordinarily have been my first choice, but it was well worth listening to Adam’s suggestion. It suited the starters perfectly and didn’t overpower the palate.
On to the main courses. My wife’s sautéed butternut squash and chickpea cake was superbly presented and the squash just perfect for autumn seasonality. Again many congratulations to the Chef, as my other half declared the poached egg the best that she’d ever eaten.
The only way to describe my fillet steak is exemplary. The butcher and Chef were clearly in perfect harmony here as it had an absolutely melt-in-the mouth consistency all the way through. I’m a dedicated steak-lover and I can honestly say that I’ve not had a steak this good in Chiswick since the much-missed Mackintosh’s restaurant closed. The Côtes du Rhone rouge was an excellent choice, subtle, fruity and well-matched against the pepper steak sauce.
As staunch believers that a sweet always assists the digestion (if not the waistline!) we decided to share a Côte speciality dessert, a crème caramel. A traditional set vanilla pod custard with dark caramel and cream, it was naughty, very nice and the perfect finale to our meal.
It’s clear to see that Côte has won the Chiswick vote (busy even on the wet weekday evening we visited) and equally clear why. Real value for money, subtle attention to detail in every department and a friendly, extremely professional staff who made us feel very special.
Breakfast menu available
Weekday lunch and early evening menu available
October 31, 2012