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Vinoteca Chiswick

18 Devonshire Road, London, W4 2HD, United Kingdom

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This is the fourth London site of Vinoteca, a restaurant with an emphasis on wine. It is in Devonshire road, a busy shopping street off the Chiswick High Road, almost opposite La Trompette. The dining room had a large display of wines along one wall, the tables quite tightly packed in. The chef is James Robsen, who since early 2012 had worked at River Café, and prior to that as head chef at Artisan and Vine in Battersea, and also as head chef at Restaurant l’Office in Paris. Starters were priced from £5.50 to £8.50, main courses £12 to £17.50, side dishes at £3 and desserts £5.50 to £6, with coffee at £2.50.

There were 270 wines on the list, which started at £15.95 and ranged widely – there were five wines from Greece listed, and even wines from Slovenia and Croatia, as well as plenty of coverage of France, Italy and Spain. Even normally neglected Germany was covered, with ten wines including two rarely seen German reds. Examples wines include One Chain The Opportunist 2011 at £22.50 for a wine that retails at around £8, Urbina Gran Reserva 1996 at £42.75 for a wine that you can find in the high street for £22, up to grander wines like Pessac Leognan Domaine de Chevalier 1989 at £153.50 for a wine that will set you back £85 in a shop. Mineral water was a relatively modest £2.50 a bottle.

Game terrine (£8) was served with toast and wild pear membrillo (paste). The terrine was rather chunky in texture, the pear paste not really sharp enough to cut through the richness of the terrine (11/20). Grilled scallops (£8.50) with black rice, aioli and red radish featured decent quality scallops that had been slightly overcooked and not perfectly trimmed prior to cooking. Though the radish was fine, the rocket leaves lacked the characteristic peppery taste that good quality rocket has (11/20).

Brill was better, accurately cooked and served with slightly soft borlotti beans, spinach and a little lemon providing useful acidity (12/20). Middlewhite pork braised in milk with lentils and red kale would not win any prizes for presentation, looking not so much plated as dropped onto the crockery. The pork itself was rather overcooked, the lentils too soft (10/20). Chips on the side were reasonable, though not as crisp as they could be (12/20). 

For dessert, chocolate, hazelnut and espresso cake tasted of its component parts, though the cake’s texture was too dry, and the presentation rather sloppy (11/20). I preferred “comis (sic) pear and almond tart”. The comice pear was nicely sharp, the pastry reasonable (12/20). Coffee had limited flavour.

Service was efficient. The bill was £68 a head, which seemed to me a lot of money for the standard of food that appeared on our plates. If you ordered a cheaper wine then a typical bill might be around £58 a head. The locals seem untroubled, with the dining room packed on a weekday night just days after opening.

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  • Andy Hayler

    The wine mark-ups are indeed not unreasonable by London standards. However the food element of our bill (plus water and coffee) came to £41 a head, the wine £27 a head including service i.e. £68 a head. With a modest bottle of wine (say £28 between two) you will end up with a bill of £58 a head. My issue with the value side of things is not with the wine list but the food, which to me seemed very ordinary, and expensive given the standard that was delivered.

  • Declan

    Having been a fan of Vinoteca since its early days in Farringdon I was delighted to see it open its latest venture close to my home in Chiswick. I find this review somewhat confusing - particularly around the markup on wine and the price per head of £68. The markups on wine seem perfectly reasonable and fair to me. Having eaten in many other places where the markup is often three times the retail price I find the Vinoteca approach to pricing far fairer. As you can buy all wine sold there at shop prices you have the ability to see what that wine would cost you if you bought it to enjoy at home. Secondly, the price per head of £68 - not sure what you were drinking as the food cannot have been more than £30-35 each including dessert? That would mean £35+ each on wine? Quite some bottle or quite some night?

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