"Standard Italian fare done competently. Slick service."
"Succeeds - if at all on the buzz and good service rather than the food; it was only when I watched the bar waiter mixing two different makes of wine into the same glass, that I became alarmed...."
"excellent all rounder;tho' having to sit atthe bar is not really a first choice Staff can appear stand-offish at first but are a mine of information if you ask them..................."
"A really good standby - very reliable always packed and excellent value - food is average but the service and buzz make it standout"
"Fresh zingy Vietnamese, excellent value set lunch for £10 slightly marred by need to order rice on top if you have curry, but noodle soups A1. Modern decor, rather dark but plenty of elbow room"
"The only independent in a row of chains and chainettes by Charing Cross station; well-executed and reasonably-priced snacks/bistro dishes. Tourists can't believe their luck..."
"The best food in the county; it deserves its Michelin star. The celeriac soup was the best soup I can remember and attention to detail and overall concept applied throughout the meal."
"immaculate service which matches the impeccable food. we went for the 9 course tasting menu. before ordering the "snacks" gave a delightful introduction. the beetroot meringue with goat's cheese mousse filling was exquisite. difficult to find the best course of the nine, the duck heart is hard to beat and melted in your mouth. Booking essential."
"Very superior food in a beautiful pub in the quintessential English village. Excellent ingredients, charming service and prefect surroundings."
"The food was fine, if not as good as it thought it was. Putting anything in inverted commas on a menu is always a risk - what exactly is it? - but fortunately the friendly waitress was on hand to translate. The restaurant itself is strangely lifeless and sterile considering it has only just opened. Perhaps it will improve once it gets into its stride?"
Sam Harrison, the restaurateur behind Chiswick's Sam's Brasserie and Harrison's in Balham, is in talks with Hawksmoor duo Will Beckett and Huw Gott to sell both sites (subject to a full consultation with staff). If the sale goes ahead both venues will close their doors on Sunday 30 August.
Sam's, a “consistently good neighbourhood brasserie”, “tucked away down an alleyway”, off Chiswick’s main drag, has been in operation for over 10 years. While “the Balham Set” (there is such a thing, apparently) have enjoyed the “always buzzing” Harrison's for the past eight years.
Sam Harrison said: “I have decided it is time to pass on the baton to an exciting, young and vibrant company who think the same way as I always have about restaurants, customers and staff. I can’t tell you how much I’ve loved the last 10 years and am so immensely proud of everything we have achieved.
“I not only say goodbye to a business but to my second family - my staff, who have stayed with me over the years, and our many loyal customers, who treat the restaurants like a home away from home. I will truly miss you all and I thank you for your patronage and support.”
Adding to the restaurant scene in Chiswick and Balham will be two Foxlows (Hawksmoor's sister restaurant group which recently launched an outpost on Stoke Newington's Church Street).
Will Beckett said: “We are sorry to see Sam’s and Harrison’s close, but happy to see Sam getting his life back a bit! We’ve been friends for 10 years and have been to his restaurants many times – initially as young men enjoying a late night drink, lately as exhausted dads with our families, glad to have his amazing staff look after us and our kids.
“We’ve always really liked Sam’s restaurants and over a beer with Sam it became clear he was considering his options and deciding where the future might take him. We felt we could pick up where he left off – opening restaurants that are a genuine part of a vibrant community, where food, drink and service are always the most important things. Sam liked the idea because it meant that he could sell the business he built and loves to people he knew, who would act honourably with him and treat his staff and customers with care and attention.”
If all goes ahead Sam’s and Harrison’s will close on 30 August and reopen as Foxlows in October/ November 2015.
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