Sam's Waterside

3 Kingham Avenue, London, TW8 8GP, United Kingdom

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Sam’s Waterside opened in late November 20323 in Brentford. It is the younger sister of Sam’s Riverside in Hammersmith. The head chef was Jacob Keen-Downs, who trained at Le Caprice, with Rick Stein and The Petersham Nurseries. The restaurant overlooks the Thames, and is a shortly walk down to the river from the main high street in Brentford. The décor was smart and tables were nicely spaced, the lighting quite low. The a la carte menu offered a selection of bistro style dishes. Starters were priced from £9.50 to £14, mains £18 to £44, side dishes £5 and desserts £7 to £9.

The wine list had 57 labels and ranged in price from £28 to £175, with a median price of £48 and an average markup to retail price of 3.1 times, which seems almost reasonable these days in London. Sample references were The Impressionist Shiraz 2022 from South Eastern Australia at £29 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £11, Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2022 at £46 compared to its retail price of £22, and Bodegas Attis Albariño Lías Finas 2022 at £70 for a wine that will set you back £24 in the high street. For those with the means there was Ségla Margaux 2014 at £85 compared to its retail price of £42, and Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV at £175 for a wine whose current market value is £92. A third of the wines were French but there were offerings but far afield including The Czech Republic, Austria and Argentina. 53% of the list was below £50, and 79% below £75. Corkage was a very reasonable £20.

Of the snacks that we tried, Parmesan churros (£6) were harmless but arrived lukewarm rather than hot. I much preferred Portland crab toast (£13.50), which was simple but enjoyable and had good crab balanced with a touch of lemon. Focaccia (£3.50) was fresh and had good texture. Bloody Mary steak tartare (£14) with quail egg and horseradish used good quality meat from HG Walter, and was very lightly seasoned. To be fair, a little bottle of Tabasco was provided to liven things up on the seasoning, which was necessary (13/20).

Black truffle ravioli (£23) with ceps, celeriac and Parmesan foam sounded wonderful on the menu. The pasta had reasonable texture if a tad firm for me, and the Parmesan flavour came through well. The usually distinctive taste of celeriac was very muted, as were the ceps and truffle, so in flavour terms I was expecting more emphasis from the main elements. Again, a little more seasoning may have helped (13/20).

For dessert, apple pie (£14) to share had reasonable pastry, apples that could have been sharper and some aromatic spice that was a little distracting. Vanilla ice cream had worrying little vanilla in it (12/20).  Coffee was from a local Brentford supplier and was harmless enough, roasted a little darker than ideal to my taste. Service was friendly and the staff that we encountered all seemed enthusiastic and helpful. The bill came to £85 per person. If you shared a modest bottle of wine and had three courses and coffee then a typical cost per person might come to around £80.

Sam’s Waterside is a pleasant neighbourhood restaurant with an appealing menu and smart décor with a nice view out over the water. The atmosphere is relaxed and I assume that there will be outside seating in the summer months, something not to be considered in this frigid January night. The citizens of Brentford should certainly be pleased to have this restaurant in their neighbourhood.

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