Last Updated on June 16, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Summer fine dining in Chiswick House and Gardens
I was seduced by the Palladian grandeur of Lord Burlington’s 18th-century villa Chiswick House in West London as a young child. It was very close to my first school and I spent many happy hours playing in the beautiful grounds.
I’m always happy to go back and when the chance of reviewing the new fine-dining restaurant The Garden Pavilion at Chiswick House came up, I didn’t have to think twice. The restaurant opened on 29th May and will be open until the end of September 2021 serving a seasonally changing British menu featuring produce from Chiswick House’s recently reopened Kitchen Garden.
The Garden Pavilion is backed by premium London catering company, Food Show. I met chef-partner Max Uyanik who boasts a fearsome CV that includes stints with Nuno Mendes, Helene Darroze and Jason Atherton. He explained that the restaurant has a straightforward offer with a prix-fixe 2-3 course menu for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. I’m fascinated to see if a catering company used to weddings and big events can deliver a fine-dining restaurant.
The Pavilion’s interior is lit up with ‘festoon lighting, twilight trees, and floral decorations; but the real stars of the show are the house and the garden which are on full view from the dining room.
We started with a glass of Coates & Seely, Brut Reserve, English Sparkling Wine from Hampshire. It’s a delicious wine, perfect for an aperitif with a crisp green apple freshness and lovely toasted brioche notes.
There’s a choice of 3 dishes for each course including a vegan option but while we looked at the menu the kitchen sent out a cute ‘steak frites’ with perfect ‘allumettes’ chips, tender steak and a classic, rich bearnaise sauce. For me there was a Parmesan crisp with a delicious aubergine cream.
When the starters came out it was clear that the kitchen meant business. Passion fruit cured organic salmon melted in the mouth, with mango salsa and lime crème fraiche adding cool, tropical fruit notes.
A Nutbourne heritage tomato salad packed a real flavour punch. Creamy burrata, black garlic, an intense basil ice cream, and a decorative sea coral buckwheat tuile completed the picture. These were dishes at the level of any of Jason Atherton’s restaurants – what a win for Chiswick!
We moved on to drinking a bottle of Chablis, Vielles Vignes, Domaine de Vauroux 2017. With white blossom on the nose and honeyed tropical fruit and stone on the palate, it was a perfect accompaniment for our main dishes.
The ‘new season duo of lamb cannon (it’s actually a loin fillet) and pressed crispy belly came with a potato galette, delicately braised spring vegetables – garden peas and grilled baby courgettes – and a rich, fruity but light lamb jus. The meat was tender and overall the dish was beautifully balanced.
The other main was also quite substantial. A fillet of Cornish sea bass was perfectly seared and was served with ‘risotto primavera’ which needed to be a little more al dente, crisp, vegetal Wye valley asparagus, and a fluffy Parmigiano-Reggiano snow. It was another well composed dish.
The kitchen sent out all three of the desserts for us to try! The ‘Edible Flowerpot’ was a lot of fun and brought together carrot cake, carrot fluid gel, carrot spaghetti, cream cheese frosting, and coffee crumble for a supercharged deconstructed carrot cake.
And the similarly deconstructed Piña Colada was the dessert antidote to missing out on summer holidays. A suitably wobbly coconut pannacotta was plated with an intense passion fruit fluid gel, a delicious compressed pineapple and rum sorbet, and dehydrated coconut.
My favourite was the chocolate and raspberry delice which came with roasted hazelnut praline, raspberry sorbet, and cacao nib crisps.
With the summer weather getting underway, The Garden Pavilion has to be the perfect setting for eating out in West London. The combination of the location and the food quality makes it a no-brainer. Max explained that the menus will be changing regularly and he is also considering putting in some live entertainment so book a table while you can.
The Garden Pavillion
Chiswick House and Gardens,
London W4 2RP
Lucy dined as a guest of The Garden Pavillion
Looking for something similar in West London – we also recommend Villa di Geggiano – check our review