La Trompette is a fixture in Chiswick, the first restaurant in the area to gain a Michelin star. Since February 2013 the kitchen has been headed up by Rob Weston, formerly head chef of The Square. Three courses at lunch cost £32.50. Three courses at dinner run to £55.
La Trompette has always had a good wine list, with some interesting suppliers and relatively moderate prices if you are usd to central London. Example labels were Disznoko Dry Furmint Tokaji 2015 at £39 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £11, The wonderfully named Fowles Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 at £57 compared to its retail price of £23, and Marsiliana Principe Corsini Maremma Toscana 2006 at £89 for a wine that will set you back £30 in a shop. The list had a few prestige labels tucked away too, such as Guigal La Turque 1994 at £470 compared to its retail price of £325, and Unico 2004 at £450 for a wine with a current market value of around £270. Mineral water was £3.95.
A nibble of seaweed cracker dusted with cucumber powder and topped with taramasalata and pickled sardine was very delicate, the sardine excellent (15/20). Even better was an amuse-bouche of raw gilthead bream with English wasabi, bonito jelly, pickled cucumber and shimeji mushrooms. The balance of this dish was lovely, with just enough wasabi to enliven things, the pickled cucumber an excellent foil for the fish (easily 16/20, bordering on 17/20). Sourdough bread was made from scratch in the kitchen, and had impressive texture (16/20).
Celery soup with chanterelles had good flavour, coming with a carefully poached bantam egg, the seasoning accurate (15/20). My starter was a trio of scallops from the Isle of Orkney, served with parsley root, clementine and confit ginger. The scallops themselves were very good, sweet and lightly cooked, but the clementine juice was a little too dominant to my taste (14/20).
Wild turbot came with Beaufort cheese crust, chanterelles, salsify, black truffle and farfalle (bow shaped pasta). The fish was accurately cooked and the Beaufort was an interesting additional flavour (15/20). I had roast guinea fowl on a bed of risotto of pearl barley, along with pumpkin and purple sprouting broccoli. The bird had good flavour and the contrast of the sweetness of the pumpkin with the barley and broccoli was effective (15/20).
A pre-dessert of Yorkshire rhubarb with buttermilk mousse, rehydrated meringue and bergamot granita was unusual, the rhubarb good and the meringue having decent texture, though for me the bergamot was rather strong (14/20). I preferred a chocolate tart with hazelnut ice cream, a chocolate tuile and caramelised almonds and hazelnuts. The chocolate was suitable rich, the nuts bringing an effective texture contrast, the hazelnut ice cream having plenty of flavour (15/20). A banana soufflé was very well made, having risen nicely, being evenly cooked and having plenty of banana flavour, accompanied by gingerbread and passion fruit ice cream (16/20).
Service was excellent: attentive and friendly. Coffee (£3.95) was from a brand called Molinari and was, not to put too fine a point on it, grim. It was bitter, grainy and slightly muddy, one of the nastier coffees I have tried. I gather that there are plans to review the coffee supplier: the good news is that it should not be hard to find a better supplier. They could try a good coffee like those from Monmouth Street, Allpress, Climpsons or, well, actually just throw a stick in the coffee aisle of the nearest supermarket and pick whatever it hits. Fortunately there was a distraction in the form of some petit fours, including a good chocolate truffle and superb nougat with pistachios and almonds. The bill came to £62 per person all in. Overall, with the exception of the coffee, this was a very good meal.Book
Further reviews: 25th Feb 2023 | 20th Sep 2022 | 03rd Jul 2021 | 24th Nov 2019 | 15th Oct 2018 | 08th Sep 2017 | 11th Jul 2013 | 13th Dec 2012
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Caffè Molinari's roasting style and robusta-rich blends may not be to your or my liking, Andy, but you are certain to be served a decent espresso made with it at coffee bars in Modena. From your description I suspect La Trompette's coffee problems are in-house – faulty equipment, dirty parts, misused grinder, inattentive staff, etc – and that these may continue even if they switch to one of the superior London roasters you've recommended. I'd suggest they changing their cleaning and maintenance practices.