We have now been to all three of Bruce Pooles, Michelin Starred restaurants. The first to open was, Chez Bruce in Wandsworth, 1995, the 2nd, The Glasshouse in Kew in 1999 and finally La Trompette in Chiswick, in 2001. All suburbs of London. My personal favourite has always been La Trompette, basically as for a while there, I could walk to it, second in line was the Glasshouse, also easy to get to, as it is on the district line, right next door to Kew underground station, and then finally Chez Bruce. I wrote last year about Chez Bruce, but it is way down my list of must go to restaurants and not only because it is south of the river and oops I don’t really like going south of the river, a bit too much of a faff, BUT we found the service, decidedly iffy. For example, the waiter addressed us with ” You done with that?” Alright in a lesser restaurant maybe, but in a Michelin starred establishment. NO!, The lights were turned up bright before we were hardly on our coffee ( I was almost expecting the chairs to be put on the tables and the floor to be swept!) But the worse crime I felt was that when I tweeted Bruce, about this, there was and has never been a reply. Too Bad.
We also found that out of the three, the Glasshouse was the most affordable, +/- £32 for three courses AND the sister restaurants often gave away vouchers for a special offer, midweek. Not any more I fear, as the price is now £47 in both the Glasshouse and in La Trompete. Affordable for two but when you take the family , it now becomes almost a 2nd mortgage, by the time one adds wine, aperitif, coffee and service!
Still, we went for a birthday treat, and I have to say, we were all ( well almost all) very happy with our meal.The restaurant was full and the service was still as slick as ever.
The willowy brunette chose the Watercress Soup with a slow cooked hens egg, she said it was excellent, but then she is very much a soup person and I could have predicted that as being her choice. The boys chose the Tartare of Welsh black beef with smoked paprika and candied beetroot. Me, I had the cured salmon with a prawn beignet avocado, and oyster dressing. All very scrumptious!
For our main courses, we chose the loin of Welsh lamb, our newly wed said it was lovely , the Cornish cod was delicious as was the wild garlic risotto, however, the other half of the newly weds, who is seriously into food, declared that his Line Caught Turbot ( and additional £5 ) was sadly disappointing, that the red pepper sauce, did nothing to enhance the dish and that somehow the sauce was sweet.
We all skipped dessert so can not comment on that, but back to the Michelin Stars. In a February edition of the London Evening standard it was reported that La Trompette in Chiswick, was given a one-star rating out of five by Food Standards Agency inspectors, a one-star status means “major improvement necessary”.
The report, following an inspection by a Hounslow council food safety officer in October, said the restaurant had struggled to reach safety standards over several years and had “still not got to grips” with them.
The officer was concerned that the head chef “demonstrated little knowledge of the location and content” of the food safety manual. Other shortfalls were in systems to prevent rodent contamination and cross-contamination of E.coli 0157.
So all I can say is that I hope they have got themselves sorted out by now, as certainly this was my favourite of the three restaurants, but we shall see.