Best local Indian Restaurant in Essex 2014
One of the finest Indian restaurants in Essex Caraway Indian Brasserie, in Gants Hill, has won the prestigious Best Local Indian Restaurant Award in the Restaurant Guides
The Hart Brothers
The Hart Brothers, who have made Quo Vadis and Fino into such success stories
A French restaurant in one of the Chelsea-ist bits of Chelsea? Youâd be forgiven if you expected Cheyne Walk Brasserie to be one of those slightly austere, cooler-than-thou places, populated exclusively by the rich and/or thin and/or beautiful. That image just makes the friendly, relaxed and welcoming reality a very pleasant surprise.
Despite the venueâs Englishness â can you get more English than a former pub located opposite Albert Bridge? â there is no doubting the French influence, from the excellent wine list to the little poodle cameo that adorns everything. The interior is pure French â a Belle Epoque dining room decorated in relaxing tones â ditto the efficient and amiable staff. Some might argue that the cocktails are pure London â the signature Elderflower Martini is a summery delight but still pretty good in the Autumn, Winter or Spring â and they might have a point. The setting though is pure salon dining albeit less formal than that suggests. Itâs good for romance, itâs great for business and, if youâre feeling sociable, itâs the sort of place where youâll end up talking to the people at the table next to you.
Interestingly, the main selling point of the food isnât a reliance on heavy French sauces or strange bits of meat. The centerpiece of the restaurant is the wood-fired grill where Frank Lebiez, the highly adept chef, cooks well-sourced steaks, fish, lamb, etc. The latter is certainly recommended, both the excellent Rack of Lamb and, particularly, the Leg for two to share. The presence of the grill means that the smell of cooking permeates the atmosphere: itâs impossible to have no appetite when the first thing you inhale is a warm, rosemary-scented waft of air. Happily, portions are generous and sides are very well executed: as youâd expect, the Dauphinois is particularly good. Classic French starters â Onion Soup, some first rate Foie Gras â are also well executed.
Desserts (all at Â£6.50) provide a fine finish, especially the Chocolate Fondant with Tonka and Vanilla Ice Cream.
With jazz in the upstairs bar on a Wednesday evening and an appealing brunch / daytime menu available until 7pm, Cheyne Walk Brasserie is just adding cherries to an already appealing cake.