Brula Bistro is aiming for the local French bistro market in Twickenham. The room has wooden floors, a mix of narrow banquettes and low-backed wooden chairs, with a few old mirrors on the plain white walls. The menu is as much British as French, with starters at £6.75, mains at £15.75 and desserts at £6.50 (so a 3 course meal is £29). The wine list fits on a single card and is French. Bruno Sorg Riesling 2005 is listed at £5 for a wine that costs just under £10 in the shops, but in fact was unavailable. Philippe Faury 2005 Chavanah is listed at £39.75 for a wine that only costs about £8 in the shops, so the wine list is hardly generous. However for just £10 you can bring your own, which would be the smart option. Bread is a single option of warm slices of baguette, but this is appropriate and the bread tasted fresh (4/10).
I started with roast wood pigeon resting on a bed of celeriac remoulade, with sweet corn and walnuts, garnished with a pair of anchovy crisps. The pigeon was pink and reasonably tender, the remoulade tasty, with a little bite of mustard and lemon to liven up the dish. The sweet corn seemed unnecessary to me, but the walnuts added a pleasant contrast of firm texture (4/10). A salad of Devonshire crab mayonnaise, cured salmon on iceberg lettuce with pickled cucumber had crab which tasted fresh, pleasant salmon and a particularly good pickled cucumber (4/10).
My main course of roast corn-fed chicken was cooked well enough but lacked much taste, served on a bed of hispi cabbage and a light tarragon sauce with prune sarladaise (a potato recipe from the south west of France) that unfortunately was seriously overcooked (2/10 at best). Sea bass was farmed but cooked well, served with a good tarte fine of anchovy but with overcooked sprouting broccoli and a rather insipid lemon and sorrel sauce (3/10).
For dessert, profiteroles had rather ordinary choux pastry and vanilla ice cream that needed more vanilla, with pleasant chocolate sauce (3/10). Home-made vanilla yoghurt was served with blackberry jelly, Bramley apple compote and toasted nut and oat crumble, another dish that was pleasant but was not bursting with flavour. In general the cooking here was mostly capable, with a tendency to under-season and a desire to put one more flavour on the plate than was strictly necessary. Service was very pleasant. At £77 a head the bill was a little high for the level of cooking displayed.