In late 2012 the cake shop Outsider Tart in Chiswick opened a small restaurant called Blue Plate, serving food from America’s deep south. Outsider Tart was established over five years ago by a pair of American gentlemen who had moved to London from New York, the shop serving brownies and assorted cakes, all of which are made from scratch. David Muniz is the cook, author of a cookbook on the baking of brownies, though prior to this venture he had not worked as a chef. He is from Mississippi, hence the focus on food from the southern states. “Blue Plate” refers to slang for casual restaurants in the USA that offer cheap special meals of the day, the idea being that the restaurant here is in that tradition of simple, hearty food.
Blue Plate has a simple dining room adjacent to the cake shop, with wooden floor and red-painted chairs, seating barely twenty people. The menu changes daily, all food prepared from scratch in the kitchen. The short wine list ranged from £18 to £29 and had choices such as Gnarly Head Viognier 2011 at £18 for a wine that you can find in the high street for around £10, and Morgan Metallico Chardonnay at £29 for a wine that retails at about £15. There was also a list of American craft beers.
Beef chilli was a cut above most that you see in restaurants, in this case made with good quality meat, home-made mustard, beans pureed with red chillies, with a little whiskey and vinegar, the latter adding a little sourness to balance the dish (12/20).
On the side was a ham relish made from a baked ham, served with pickled cabbage coleslaw on thin slices of toasted Sally Lunn bread; this had pleasant texture and the pickles went well with the meat (11/20). Oddly given the origins of the restaurant, the dessert was the dish I enjoyed least, a lemon bar brownie. There just wasn’t enough lemon here, the texture a little dense (10/20). Coffee from Honduras was genuinely good.
At another meal I enjoyed a pulled pork sandwich with barbecue sauce, the pork tender and the sauce lively (12/20), accompanied by properly made coleslaw, while for dessert a cherry cheesecake brownie was enjoyable (11/20).
Service was casual but friendly, and the chef popped out to say hello and seemed charming. The bill came to £17.15, with just water to drink. Overall this is not a destination restaurant by any means, but it is a good addition to the area, serving pleasant, unpretentious food at a fair price.