This Sportsman Life

Saturday, August 29th , 2015

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The Sportsman on the Kent coast (pictured) is one of my favourite UK restaurants, with Stephen Harris taking the idea of local sourcing to an obsessive level: the salt comes from the beach, the pork from the farm adjoining the pub, the vegetables from the garden at the back. Cooking is stripped down so you will not find unnecessary garnishes to distract you from the lovely produce appearing on the plate. The star dish was superb brill with vin jaune sauce, while a flawless greengage soufflé demonstrated the command of technique here.

I had another curate’s egg of a meal at Otto’s, a restaurant that I really want to like yet I find can be infuriatingly erratic. Last time I was here Challans duck was overcooked, but this time it was lovely. However soufflé potatoes, which last time were the star of the meal, were on this occasion soggy and flabby. Bresse chicken was very good, but cheese soufflé was, er, crisp, which is not the adjective that you ideally want to be able to apply to your soufflé. Given the fairly hefty price point for the luxury ingredients here I really wish that the kitchen could execute more consistently.

Tangawizi is an excellent Indian restaurant just by Richmond Bridge. As well as the familiar staples of the high street like malai chicken tikka, Tangawizi does some more unusual things like tandoori mushrooms and aloo tikki chaat, and it does them very well. The black dhal here is particularly recommended, as is the unusually good naan bread, and the staff are very friendly.

The Duke of Sussex is a pub local to me whose food is a cut above the norm. They make their own sourdough bread in the tiny kitchen, and at this meal a quail salad with puy lentils and harissa was original and successful. Prices are very low indeed, and you can bring your own wine for a modest £10 corkage. It is not destination dining, but one of the few places in Chiswick that I return to on a regular basis. 

Talking of which, I had my 61st meal at Hedone, who have now returned from their summer break and are on cracking form. Highlights from the carte blanche tasting menu included trout with caviar, langoustine with pea puree, sea bass with pickled walnuts and 100 day aged Galician beef. If there is any better food in London than at Hedone then I have missed it.