Charlotte’s Place in Ealing celebrates its 30th birthday this year, and its winning formula of great food, fantastic service and charming atmosphere continues to attract diners from far and wide
Charlotte’s Place is the same age as me. No, not 21 (hard to believe I know), but 30. That’s a very long time to still be standing (for a restaurant, not me), and the longevity is testament to the restaurant’s winning formula – brilliant food, thoughtful service and a wonderful atmosphere. It sounds an obvious combination, but to find all three factors in the same place can often prove difficult.
We visited on a Wednesday but you’d be hard-pressed to know it was mid week, as every table in the basement dining room was taken, creating a lovely buzz and the perfect backdrop for a couple of Sipsmith gin and tonics while deliberating over the menu.
The focus is on seasonal ingredients and inventive combinations, and it’s a ‘fine dining’ experience, but without the often stuffy feel that comes with it. Starters kicked things off in delectable style – king scallop ceviche with jewel-like cubes of apple jelly and a golden raisin puree made for a beautiful plate of contrasting texture and flavour, whilst the chicken ballotine was a delicate dish, the moist meat lifted by a tangy red onion marmalade, and topped with crunchy, salty chicken skin.
Next up, a Barbary duck breast, seared and succulent, served with a mini pie filled with shredded duck meat, and a dark and shiny port and blackberry jus. Sticking with the game theme, the saddle of rabbit came with the softest potato dumplings, pak choi and bursts of mustard seeds. It was a dish packed with flavour. We ordered a side of chips, as recommended by our waiter, and they were a wickedly indulgent and crunchy addition.
Finishing with a cheese board and zingy gooseberry posset with hazelnut crumble and elderflower sorbet, it’s easy to see how Charlotte’s Place has been so popular for so long. If I can grow old even half as gracefully, I’ll be happy.
Dinner £27.95 for two courses, £32.95 for three
Fine dining and a warm welcome
What to eat:
Game dishes were spectacular
What to know:
They’ve just been awarded an impressive 2 Rosettes from the AA Restaurant Guide
16 St Matthew’s Rd, Ealing W5 3JT; 020 8567 7541; charlottes.co.uk