London recently had a week dedicated to cocktails and who doesn’t like a well mixed cocktail? I’ve visited a few cocktail bars in London and the best seem to be located centrally but if you’re one of the lucky ones who live in or near Chiswick, you’ve got a gem of a cocktail bar/restaurant on your doorstep.
Charlotte’s Bistro (little sister to Charlotte’s Place in Ealing) of Chiswick with it’s dark wood and modern glass and steel frontage just looks like a great place to order a martini or two. To get to the restaurant you have to pass through the small bar up front but everyone is so friendly on entering that it’s hard not to stop and have a drink before carrying on up the stairs to the dining room.
Laura Marnich (ex-Sketch) is the Head Bartender and she works closely with the Head Chef to come up with unique cocktails. Why would the Bar work with the kitchen? Because Laura likes to create with cocktails with a twist: Fennel & bergamot martinis, Peach & Basil KT Blossom martini and Cherry Meringue sour with frothed egg whites, just some of the concoctions the bar and kitchen have come up with over the past year. I tried all of them and they all surprised me. I must say, I was a bit sceptical about fennel and bergamot but the combination was intoxicating (figuratively and literally). As a matter of fact, I think I drank most of my companions – ooops!
Laura also does traditional cocktails and the Manhattan she whipped up passed my very strict Manhattan taste test despite the fact it was served straight up at first, they even had their own marinated cherries. Laura likes to change the menu seasonally, working with whatever fresh ingredients are available. Currently they are just finishing up summer and I can’t wait to see what she devises for Autumn. Prices? Well, unlike Central London, prices here are run between £7.50 and £9.50 and you definitely get your money’s worth – good and strong cocktails, just the way they should be!
Naturally, the bar has a small plates list, filled with such appetizing and provocative nibbles like hake with braised chorizo, the Russian Spiced pigs head Kromeski which despite it’s rather off putting description, is a scrumptious cake of pigs head meat in a crunchy coating and fresh salmon and beets. My favourite of the evening had to be the smoothest duck parfait I’ve had in a long time, the parfait was like eating a very rich chocolate mousse, except it was duck, mouth watering. The prices are also reasonable with most of the small plates being around the £4.50 to £5.50 mark with one or two pushing out the boat a bit more.
A cozy little bar to spend an autumn evening, friendly and knowledgable staff, good food and an exciting and regularly changing cocktails list. I almost forgot to mention the wine list. Charlottes has an eclectic wine list and while I was there, we also tried a cannonau di Sardegna (you can read about it here). The wine list is chockful of off the beaten track wines. The general manager referred to many of the wines as “sommelier’s wines” and with everything from Muskateller from Slovenia,Greco di Tufo, Cinsault rose, Gropello from Lake Garda region, to Sancerre Rouge, as well as more well known wines and appellations, a delighful winelist for the informed wine drinker.
If I lived in West London, I surely would be spending some quality time at Charlotte’s Bistro bar.
Charlotte’s Bistro is located 6 Turnham Green Terrace, W4 1QP
Tel: 0208 742 3590