High Road House has an attractive location on the Chiswick High Road. Upstairs there is a private members club dining room and additional rooms for hire. On the ground floor a brasserie is open all day and to anyone. Ever since it opened in August 2006 it has been busy, with several outside tables, canopied in case of fickle weather, and with lamp heaters provided in the winter. This area is supplemented by indoor tables arrayed on either side of the bar. There were several Covid-19 precautions immediately apparent. The restaurant has many outside tables anyway, and tonight the windows were left open so there was plenty of air circulating indoors. The indoor tables were quite generous spaced, waiters were masked and menus were only virtual, accessed via a QR code.
Beef tartare was a generous portion of chopped beef that was served in a DIY kind of way with some capers, parsley and salt, with an egg yolk on top. Once you mixed these together the overall effect was bland, lacking in seasoning. There were salt and pepper pots available so some diligent application of these livened things up a little, but the seasoning still felt underpowered. On the plus side, the beef was not chopped too finely, but this was a distinctly tentative tartare (11/20). Just before serving, the waitress asked if we would like any bread on the side. I asked whether the tartare came with anything, was told “no” and so the bread was served. In fact the tartare came with several slices of toast, so the bread was unnecessary.
Haddock and chips came on a bed of mush peas with tartare sauce. The batter was limp rather than crisp, but the fish was cooked well enough, and the peas were fine. The tartare sauce at least was quite punchy, with plenty of capers, and the matchstick fries were crisp (12/20).
For dessert, lemon posset itself had good balance, but was topped with unnecessary raspberries and a blob of clotted cream. Given that posset is a mix of precisely three ingredients: cream, sugar and lemon, topping it with cream seems not only pointless but also unbalances the overall effect. However once I scraped away the cream, the posset itself had nicely incorporated the lemon flavour, and the balance with the sweetness of the sugar was effective (13/20).
The bill came to £29 a person for a starter, two mains and a dessert, including service. The service operation got off to a slow start: we sat for ten minutes before anyone came over to the table to take our drinks order. Once underway, the service itself was fine, with quite good topping up of drinks and a friendly waitress. It was interesting just how busy High Road House was on this Monday night, with tables being turned. One concern of restaurateurs before reopening after the lockdown was whether there would be enough demand from potentially nervous customers. No such problem here. High Road House is not striving for culinary greatness but does offer an appealing menu and decent execution in the kitchen, combined with friendly service. The overall offering clearly appeals to the local customers given just how very busy it was on this Monday evening.