La Trompette was the first high end restaurant in Chiswick, opening in 2001 on the site of a previous restaurant called La Dordogne. Its owner, Nigel Platts-Martin, had followed on from his career in law and finance by investing in 1987 in Harveys, which launched the career of Marco Pierre-White. The Square (since sold to marlon Abela) followed in 1991 with Phil Howard, and then Chez Bruce in 1995 on the old Harveys site. Later he opened The Glasshouse in 1999 and The Ledbury in 2005. La Trompette has seen a number of chefs but these days has Rob Weston, formerly head chef of The Square, in charge of the kitchen. The formula is to provide an appealing menu, an unusually fairly priced wine list and welcoming service. This combination has led to an eighteen-year (and counting) track record in a business notorious for rapid business turnover.
The meal today began with a canape, a financier made with ricotta and chives. This was light in texture though a touch sweet (14/20). I preferred a further amuse-bouche of cured gilt-head bream with pickled shimeji mushroom and horseradish snow. There was a gentle but discernible kick of spice from the horseradish that nicely lifted the flavour of the fish (15/20).
Diver-caught Orkney scallop was high quality and lightly cooked, served with chestnuts, koginut squash and toasted grains. The scallop had good natural sweetness and was carefully cooked, and the grains added a contrasting texture. The squash and chestnuts were certainly seasonal and were pleasant, though adding another slightly sweet flavour to the already slightly sweet scallop didn’t seem to me to be the best way to balance the dish (15/20). Wild sea bass was accurately cooked, served with kohlrabi and Jerusalem artichokes as well as sunflower seed pesto. The fish was lovely, with excellent flavour and the earthiness of the artichokes went well with the fish (16/20).
Apple souffle didn’t really work, the texture too mushy, and although the stem ginger ice cream was a nice touch, it could only partly redeem the souffle (13/20). Better was an excellent clementine custard tart and yoghurt sorbet, the fruit providing just the right level of sharpness (16/20). I also tasted a pleasant millefeuille of prune and Armagnac. Coffee was supplied by Union Coffee and was quite good.
Service was generally fine, though the usual excellent manageress was away today, and things felt a little more lax than usual. In particular the wine topping up was erratic, to say the least. The bill came to £85 a person all in. Overall this was an enjoyable evening, with an appealing menu and well-executed dishes. This is not a place for ultra-luxury ingredients or adventurous cooking, but it consistently delivers food of a good standard at a fair price.Book