Charlotte’s W5 Restaurant Review:
You’ve got home, you’ve got the office, this is your ‘third place’ for work, play and everything in between. We have the space, flexibility and hospitality to look after you for anything at any time; from 8am to 11.30pm every day.
So say the folk at Charlotte’s W5. Since one of last year’s best and unexpected treats was lunch at Charlotte’s Place I was curious to find out how they fared. Charlotte’s are a small group of local eateries owned by Alex Wreetham. I’m sure every one of them would become firm favourites if I happened to live in West London still. Instead I’ve moved South of the River and going West is something of an excursion. Worth it though, to find W5 kitchen, the latest member of Charlotte’s group.
It’s clear from looking at the menu that the team behind Charlotte’s W5 have worked very hard to create a menu to suit the local residents and workforce. There are a series of dishes, available as taster, small plates or large plates, a brunch menu and a ‘feasting menu’ for those evenings when you’ve got a group of friends together and know that no-one will be able to make up their mind what they want to eat. Oh and a rather fine cocktail and drinks menu.
The benefit of the option of tasters and small plates is that it is perfectly possible to taste a good range of dishes. So, After a cocktail or two we went on to order a whole selection.
Truffle arancini with artichoke puree were delicious with a nice crunchy exterior and a good flavour of truffle through the rice filling.
Fennel beignets were unexpectedly more like tempura, but that didn’t stop us scoffing them all with the accompanying Sauce Gribiche.
One of the prettiest plates was a carpaccio of octopus with a sprinkling of confit egg yolk, bottarga and crispy squid. It tasted as good as it looked.
We tried a selection of salad dishes: A generous helping burrata with butternut squash salad, pine nuts and sage must be one of London’s biggest bargains at £7 for something that bore little resemblance to a ‘small plate’.
Chicory Salad with blood orange, cashel blue cheese and candied walnut was a fabulous combination of textures and tastes. Tarte Fine of Heirloom tomatoes with a tomato and basil consomme was remarkably successful so early in the season, though neither of us thought the consomme added much value.
Truffle and artichoke risotto was again a very substantial ‘small dish’ while the cod loin with clams, kale and parsley mousseline wouldn’t have been out of place as part of a tasting menu.
The rabbit ragu with linguine and another of those delicious fennel beignets wasn’t really what I’d have imagined as a ragu – much too substantial to make a sauce for the accompanying pasta and served in a way that meant it was impossible to mix.
The result was that I left most of the pasta – no problem with that as a way to manage my diet!
Dessert come in taster and small portions – so we picked two tasters each.
The Hazelnut tart with caramelised white chocolate ice-cream was a delicious hazelnut frangipane with a light yet creamy ice-cream. Given a choice I would normally ask for double or clotted cream rather than ice-cream, but I was pleasantly suprised this time.
Chocolate mousse with egg yolk ice-cream and caramel sauce was a deconstructed take on a classic. No less delicious for that though.
What we enjoyed most about Charlotte’s W5 was the care and consideration that had gone into creating a menu structure for the kind of customers the location is likely to attract. All the food we ate was delicious, though some of the execution wasn’t exactly what we had expected. Portion sizes were generous – and with small plates all between £6 and £9 it’s somewhere I’d be happy to find on my doorstep.
And, there’s a great drinks list.
What’s not to like? Sometimes I really regret having moved away from West London. I suspect that Charlotte’s W5 are close to achieving their goal…
Disclaimer: I dined as a guest of Charlotte’s W5