West London is very much alien territory to me. I have nothing against it, per se, it's just wholly inconvenient for a South Londoner such as myself. London transport is designed to go up and down and left and right, try going from south to west and you might as well give up now. In fact, the furthest I am normally willing to go is as far as Queensway and that's only because roast duck, char kway teow and lobster noodles beckon.
So when Londoneater suggested a trip down to Chiswick, I was somewhat reluctant. Then my ethos of "try new things" kicked in. Something else I can tick off my list. "Brave West London" - Tick!
So that's how I found myself at La Trompette, a charming neighbourhood restaurant which just so happened to have earned itself a coveted Michelin star. We are here for lunch and at face value, their lunch menu is outstanding value. A mere £23.50 for three courses of Michelin starred cooking. I realise that the lunch menus aren't necessarily the best quality the kitchen can offer, often using the more affordable cuts of meat and simpler preparation methods. However, in my eyes, they are a more affordable window into the competency of the kitchen, a window into the restaurants soul, if you like.
So, what did this window look like, and more importantly, taste like? Considering it's a set menu, the options are plentiful. With 6 options under every course, it caters for all tastes. Here's how it went for me:
Salad of Endive, Roquefort and Poached Pear - The old me wouldn't have touched this with a barge pole, but this is the new me, willing to try anything including blue cheese. I must admit, the roquefort was a little hard to get used to, but once I did, I fully appreciated its strong but smooth flavour. The pears were poached to perfection, just enough that it retained its bite whilst taking on the flavours of the poaching liquor. Endive added that extra bit of crunch. A simple dish comprising of good ingredients.
Poulet Noir, chorizo risotto, lemon, garlic, parsley and courgette fritters - Chicken, not exactly the most exciting meat in the world, is it? But there must be a reason why we eat so much of it, and this dish really helped to fight for the chickens cause. The poulet noir, the Rolls Royce of the chicken world, was simply prepared. Beautifully moist with a crisp skin, it was dusted with a finely chopped gremolata. Seasoning was at an absolute minimum but the chicken was given a bit more punch by the saffron laced chorizo risotto it was perched upon. Courgette fritters added a bit of crunch. Not bad at all, but nothing to set my tastebuds alight. It was enjoyable, nothing more, nothing less.
Creme Brulee, Apple Compote, Granny Smith Sorbet - Underwhelming. I'm a great fan of creme brulee but combining it with an apple compote just didn't go. The granny smith sorbet was tart and very refreshing. More successful was Kang's Rum baba with glazed strawberries. A delicate rum soaked sponge packed with creme chantilly sitting on a bed of strawberries. Delicious simplicity.
La Trompette is a perfect example of what can be achieved by the simple preparation of good ingredients. You cannot fault the cooking but I was slightly underwhelmed with the actual food. I think this was probably more to do with my choices than the food itself. I know Kang was very happy with his food and all the bits I snaffled off his plate were certainly very good (read his review here). Good enough to make me brave West London again, but not enough to rave about it.
La Trompette (website) - 5-7 Devonshire Road, W4 2EU