Apparently time does fly when you’re having fun, as we found out when visiting Charlotte’s Bistro last week. Launched in 2010, Charlotte’s Bistro is little sister to the long-established and highly popular Charlotte’s Place in Ealing, west London. And this family really is worth your time.
Now, when you think of a bistro, you probably think of a small little eatery in Paris. Charlotte’s has a lot more going for it than that. It has a decent atmosphere – mixing lively bar and breezy restaurant in such a relaxed way makes it a great place to while away the hours. Charlotte’s Bistro has a menu packed with fresh food at non-eye-popping prices, which is probably why it has such a substantial fanbase on Twitter. So, after a lot of peer pressure to give it a go, we booked a table for two to see if the place lived up to the hype (and tweets).
We arrived and sat in the bar area for drinks before moving up into the restaurant area for our three course meal. The menu had a lot to offer, and after being talked through the offering, we were also given spot-on recommendations by our waitress. We were told food is locally sourced where possible. The heritage of their product, where their gin is made or where their chicken was raised, is important for all.
I went for a spring vegetable salad to start with my friend plumping for grilled Cornish mackerel. The plates were brought out in record time, although there was a split second when we both noticed the beautifully displayed portions looked very small. The starters were delicious, fresh and filling despite their size.
For our mains we had pan fried Scottish sea trout and braised Clwydian Vale lamb breast. Each was cooked to perfection, so compliments to the chef were definitely in order. Although our food again arrived speedily, we weren’t pressured to chew chew chew as quickly as we could.
Lastly was a classic lemon tart and warm almond and blackberry bakewell. The dessert was where Charlotte’s really shone. The lemon was zesty and refreshing, especially as I’d eaten my fill with the starter and the main. We ended the meal feeling full and satisfied. We were so full, in fact, I’d definitely suggest limiting what you eat during the day if you’re planning to have a meal at the Bistro. As my friend and I had planned a day in the capital, we ate too much during the day and definitely regretted it.
The service during the meal was just as brilliant as down in the bar, and I’m still pleasantly surprised at just how fast they managed to get the food out to us after we’d ordered. While we were eating, different waitresses topped up our glasses and offered more suggestions for the next section of our meal. Even with the constant interaction with the staff we didn’t felt as though we were being bothered. Perhaps more importantly, we weren’t left hanging with empty plates on the table or feeling ignored. No one likes that.
Overall, if you’re looking for somewhere away from the busy life of London yet close enough for a short tube ride (being all of about a minute walk from the Turnham Green underground station), then it’s definitely worth a visit.