Church Road, London SW13: restaurant review
Try hand-cut strozzapreti, proper pies and elegant tarte fines at this west London neighbourhood restaurant
Looking for restaurants in Barnes? Read our review of Church Road, or check out our favourite new London restaurants here...
Church Road in a nutshell
A sophisticated (and sustainably minded) addition to Barnes, Church Road is the latest charming neighbourhood opening from restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas and lauded chef Phil Howard, serving the best of British and beyond.
Phil Howard might have picked the car, but up-and-coming talent Sam Astley-Dean (formerly sous chef at Elystan Street) is in the driving seat.
What's the vibe?
Oxblood booths, walnut chairs, crisp white table linen, shining cutlery, delicate glassware and calming marble tones on the walls set the tone at Church Road. While relaxed, this is a classy place – the sort you’d take your parents to for lunch, or as an affordable yet impressive date night.
What's the food like at Church Road?
The set lunch menu offers good value (from as little as two courses for £24.50), and there’s a laudable greener offering, too – a Little Sprouts Menu for £22 for three courses that is created using rejected ingredients (so-called ‘ugly veg’, undersized eggs, etc) that donates £2 per menu sold to The Friends of Barnes Common.
From the former, smoked mackerel rillettes is refined with pickled cucumber, fiery gratings of horseradish, fresh lemon zest and dill oil, to start, while chicken, mushroom and leek pie is an escape in pastry. A proper pie, golden, crisp crust – bottom, sides and top, complete with pie hole – is crammed with tender meat, given a shower of finely grated cheese and drenched with glossy gravy. Creamed potatoes live up to their promise and serve as another vehicle for that addictive gravy.
On the à la carte, expect the likes of flat-iron steak with baked potato and black truffle butter, buttermilk fried partridge, or hand-cut strozzapreti tangled with a seasonal ragu (an earthy chanterelle slick on our visit, topped with a crown of crispy chicken skin).
And the drinks?
Adding to the neighbourhood vibe, you can pop in and sit at the bar for food and drinks, too. Grab a quick glass of (decent) house red, pasta or parmesan biscuits. Or, let GM Alan Parry guide you through the wine list.
Even if you’re not a pudding person – don’t skip here. There are grown-up choices, many leaning towards the savoury or sharp, rather than simply sweet. A dessert of tarte fine on our visit – tart braeburn apples, spiced and sliced to the millimetre, atop a rectangle of buttery puff pastry with a sugary crust, and an aromatic, creamy-as-you-like bay leaf ice cream – proved to us Church Road was slicker than your average.
Words by Laura Rowe
Photographs by Andrew-Hayes-Watkins and Polly Webster