Hopefully it's a good wine bar

Nick Montagu finds the food at Libation uninspired


Related links

Pissarro's at the heart of the riverside community

The Bollo included in Michelin guide

Libation 472 Chiswick High Rd
W4 5TT Map 020 8747 1047

Top Ten as at 25th October 2004
Percentage of vote
La Trompette
Devonshire House
Le Vacherin
Fish hoek
The Swan
The Burlington

Hole in the Wall - Chiswick's newest gastro-pub

Le Vacherin brings French cuisine to Acton Green

Eating out in Chiswick


Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Vote in the Chiswick Restaurant Poll

The West end of the High Road is, with a few honourable exceptions, more known for the quick turnover of its restaurants than for their durability and quality. So where do three people, desperate for a meal at 2.40 on a Sunday afternoon and finding the wonderful Taj (one of those exceptions) closed turn?

A few doors down from Taj was the relatively new arrival Libation, offering modern European-style food and open.

The first thing to say is that Libation may be great as a wine bar: the wine list is extensive and interesting (including more unusual items like a Georgian red). But we were strictly after fueling, and a bottle of the undistinguished but perfectly adequate Italian house red at £10.95, served the purpose.

The food didn't, really. There is a very reasonable-looking £7.95 two-course menu, and we went for that. For starters, gravadlax was commercial, rather than home-made; so too was the coleslaw, with which it came, in generous quantities, but on a bed of thickly-sliced beetroot. I would have settled for home-made gravadlax on its own. Mushroom soup was thick and a bit Bovril-tasting - distinctly on the cloying side.

For mains, two of us had the ravioli stuffed with veal and ricotta in a tomato sauce. The ravioli were under-cooked (when will people learn that al dente doesn't mean a bready consistency?), the stuffing OK but bland and without the ricotta much in evidence; the tomato sauce was fine, but fairly sparse, and it would have been nice to have been offered some grated parmesan.

The third had what were advertised as linguine with grilled chicken and a creamy sauce. Grilled chicken was there, and there was undoubtedly a creamy sauce, but the linguine turned out to be rather undistinguished gnocchi.

Service was efficient enough (a jug of iced water arrived to order), neither more nor less. The bill including service amounted to just under £39. So is it unfair to carp about the food at the price? I think not: good value doesn't just mean cheap, which Libation undoubtedly is, it means getting adequate food which represents value for money.

On this showing, Libation may be heading for that typical transitory existence of the Western High Road - unless, as said, it's good enough as a wine bar to stay longer.

Nick Montagu


October 27, 2004