I’ve had my fair share of shonky review meals this year, so when invited to sample Michael Nadra’s wares, I was more than a little bit cynical. Located in the heartland of Chiswick, I have to confess I was fully prepared to be underwhelmed.
When we visited on a Thursday night, the place was softly abuzz with a table of tipsy suits and a few couples. By the time we came up for air it was packed to the rafters with a mix of locals and families. The service was impeccable throughout without being overly imposing, and the muted décor of mahogany and cream lent a quiet confidence, without rendering the atmosphere too stuffy or uptight.
To start with, I opted for seared yellowfin tuna with soft shell crab tempura, king prawn dumpling and oriental salad. It was an absolute stunner of a dish – I found myself actually shocked at how good it was. The crunchy crustacean, juicy fat dumpling and karate kick of the salad combined to a beautiful holism of textures. Amuses of salmon tartare with croutons and duck magret with a sweet squash puree were also balanced with fantastic precision. Michael Nadra cooked with the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing, Bruce Poole and Anthony Demetre, before hanging his name above the door of what was formerly “Fish Hook” – my fresh-off-the-boat main certainly belied the piscine origins of the restaurant. The very recently dead sea bass with buttered courgettes, saffron crab ravioli, basil and bisque sauce was ambrosial. Gentle hunks of ivory flesh concealed a tender pouch of sweet, crabby delight, made fresh with the herbal goodness of the marrow. The saffron and herb flecked bisque sauce was addictive and we dunked our branches of almond steamed broccoli in with gusto. My dining partner’s steak proved that Nadra has an equally deft hand with meat. The aged Hereford fillet bore a deep chestnut gloss, was cooked to perfection and came saturated with flavour. However, the accompanying triple cooked chips were definitely crying out for a good slug or two of Sarsons. Apple tarte tatin with cinnamon and Calvados ice cream carried echoes of cheddar in the pastry, which created a wickedly savoury twist, amplifying the nectar of the fruit.
This was easily my favourite restaurant meal of the year. They’re currently offering a six course lunch menu for £35 and dinner for £42 – with ingredients and cooking at this quality, I’d say this was quite the bargain.
6-8 Elliot Road
020 8742 0766