I felt obliged to try this place, as it is in the area where I live and always seems to be positively reviewed in the local publications e.g. “Chiswick’s Best Restaurant” according to local paper The Chiswick. Annie's has a nearly but not quite riverside location, being on the wrong side of the road and without a direct river view, though it is certainly just a few yards away from a river walk. The room had an open, airy feel to it on this summer lunch time, the décor inside being rather kitsch and quite fussy, with lots of pinks and purples, ornamental mirrors and the like, which could seem quite romantic. The menu is appealing, with lots of crowd pleasing British dishes such as rib eye steak with Béarnaise sauce and a Sunday roast. The wine list is pleasant, with plenty of New World options, and almost the whole list being under £30, a nice change from central London. So at this point I felt positively inclined towards the place. Then the food arrived.
I began with Thai fishcakes (£6.95), which unfortunately were greasy, with a sweet chilli sauce that was far too sweet and had not enough chilli to give the necessary bite. A crab and avocado salad (£7.95) had ripe avocado but an over-applied, heavy dressing that overwhelmed the crab. Cod and chips (£12.95) had what tasted like bought-in frozen chips and watery cod in batter, with oddly textured mushy peas and a rather disappointing tartare sauce. A fish pie (£13.95) was poor, with distinct pieces of fish such as pieces of salmon present, but which were badly overcooked, for example tuna that was a sad shade of grey. This was better than what followed, a summer pudding special of the day.
This was simply awful, just poor quality bread soaked in some red berry sauce, with hardly any fruit at all, topped with a big scoop of cream, presumably to give some hint of moistness that should come from the summer fruits in the pudding itself. You would need forensic equipment to find the fruit inside this dish. Two of us barely touched ours, and as seems to be universal with poor restaurants the plates were both removed without inquiry as to why they we had left the food. I once had a supermarket summer pudding and it was far superior to this.
Annie’s has all the potential to be a charming local place, but the nice atmosphere is not reason enough to come when the cooking is this lazy and, in places, downright bad. I wasn’t expecting gourmet food here, just something simple and edible, and they couldn’t even manage that.