TTF Restaurant Reviews

13 April 2016

Charlotte’s W5, the newest opening for Charlotte’s Group is not your typical restaurant. The owner of St. Georges development, a regular at the acclaimed Charlotte’s Place, wanted to bring Charlotte’s Group to Ealing’s new urban quarter. Therefore, Dickin’s Yard and owner of Charlotte’s, Alex Wrethman are proud to present your ‘third place’ - a diverse space for work, play, and everything in between.



Charlotte’s W5 has three areas, the Stable Block, Conservatory and Terrace. Each designed with you in mind. Combining a relaxed atmosphere with Michelin-star quality food, at W5 you can finally get the best of both worlds. The interior combines heritage from the original derelict building with a sleek upmarket twist, and nothing appears out of place. Not to mention the beautiful open-kitchen! With attentive, knowledgeable staff and high quality ingredients, W5 caters for all with it’s diverse range of dishes available in three sizes: taster, small and large. This is a wonderful feature as it allows guests to create their own bespoke tasting menus. Unlike many other restaurants who only offer a few dishes for those with dietary requirements, there is an extensive dairy and gluten free menu; by simply adjusting a few ingredients, W5 ensures you an equally enjoyable experience. They are by far the most considerate restaurant!



Every brunch should begin with a Bloody Mary, and their unique 7 week Mary’s are knockouts! Upon first sip just the right amount of spice hits your tongue, gently followed by mellow tomato and a lingering Worcestershire sauce. Be sure to ask W5 about the process these beauties have undergone to bring out their ultimate flavour. We began our feast at the Chef’s Table with the Fried Duck Egg, with Wild Mushrooms on toast from the brunch section. Picked to share we opted for the dairy free version which comes without cheese, but certainly doesn’t skimp on flavour. A mountain of wild mushrooms sits upon the sunny side up egg which provides amicable coating to the pungent flavour of wild mushrooms. For a quick healthy bite this dish is the way to go, balanced in flavour and nutritional value.



Any fans of Polenta need to try the Soft Polenta, King Oyster Mushroom, Cep, Plum tasting dish. It is beautifully smooth and creamy, a nice contrast to the usual polenta chips which feature on so many menus. This dish brings polenta back to its humble roots, and is a testament to W5 taking something simple and enhancing it extremely well. The polenta is contrasted by the meaty king oyster mushroom, which adds diversity in texture and a hint of Unami. Both are intensified by sweet slivers of jellied plum and full-flavoured gravy. Finished with a light crunch of onion, this combination is unsurpassable and is heaven on earth for a polenta lover. The Pork Belly, Carrot, Anise, and Cheek Fritter puts all pork belly’s to shame. Usually a rather fatty dish, the clever chefs at W5 have removed the usual fatty taste which is its natural accompaniment. The initial bite is deliciously crispy and salty, followed by such tender meat which melts in the mouth you would think it had been stewed for days. Harmoniously paired with the anise purée and carrot, it seamlessly combines a sweet and salty mixture. Texture plays a big part in this dish as well, from crunch to chew every element is contrasting but complimentary. The mellow cheek fritter adds a hint of darker taste which balances everything out. When each aspect of the dish is joined together, it makes you glad this little piggy went to market.



Although one wouldn’t normally dive into eating something oceanic afterwards; the Octopus, Confit Egg Yolk, Bottarga, and Crispy Squid from the savoury section is available without adjustment on both menus. The first impression one gets is of the creativity and knife skills at work behind creating this dish. The thin slices, appropriately placed in a layered circular pattern mimics the shape of a sucker on an octopus tentacle. A true taste of the sea, the octopus is offset with a sharp citrus twist, and balanced out by the crispy squid and salty samphire decoration. Bottarga is the Italian name for salted cured fish roe, hardly noticeable it subtly adds another reason why this plate works so well. There is an all-round Unami taste proving that no one ingredient outweighs the other, this would be the perfect appetiser with a glass of young crisp Chenin Blanc.

Next up, the Lamb Breast, Basil Curd, Shallot Purée, Cavalo Nero. This dish is much more than just aesthetically pleasing, the variation in colour reminds you of a countryside landscape; and its texture is a marvel and curiosity at the same time. The delicate tower of lamb looks painstakingly constructed, a W5 secret, and you admire it layer by layer before realising you need to mentally organise its deconstruction. Lamb has such a unique rich flavour, and the flakey flesh in this plate is full of it. It is as though all the compartments of a roast dinner have been combined into the meat itself; and leaves you wondering how on earth W5 created such a masterpiece. The authentic basil curd adds a charming contrast against the Cavalo Nero’s slight bitterness. This plate is all about duality, crunchy yet smooth, soft yet rich; the only unfortunate aspect was that it was a taster size!



Not for the faint hearted the Wood Pigeon, Glazed Leg, Celeriac, and Chestnuts is like the dark side of the moon. Immaculately presented and very rare, the meat is robust and naturally gamey. Combating the powerful mineral notes the purée adds a sweeter element to lighten the flavour. The glazed leg also has a bitter dark taste but pairs well with the potato and chewy chestnut. There is a fluid conversation going on between the varying aspects within this dish, the succulent meat blends seamlessly into the celeriac and purée creating a well-rounded taste. This is one of the most prominent dishes available, it also features on the free-from menu. If paired with a red wine containing cherry notes the balance would provide an unrivalled dinner main.

All cheese was not created equal, and thankfully Charlotte’s understands this too. Acquiring from Hamish Johnston which sources farmhouse cheeses direct from artisan producers and some of the most respected in Europe (Italy in this case) - Burrata at W5 cannot be overlooked. The Burrata, Butternut Squash Salad with Pine Nuts and Sage is a delectable way to get some of your 5-a-day. As your knife pierces the outside layer of the Burrata, milk oozes out and you can see the even softer heart within. The butternut squash is cooked al-dente yet remains tender, which when fused with the other ingredients provides a fresh sensory dining experience. To not overwhelm the salad a drizzle of olive oil is all that’s required as each constituent has it’s own vibrant character. Topped off with cooked pine nuts and crunchy sage - texture and flavour are sorted in this sweet yet nutty salad.



Charlotte’s W5 shows its passion and skill even more through their desserts, the Hazelnut Tart with Caramelised White Chocolate Ice-Cream, and Apple Sorbet with Apple Crisp were to be the next victims. Warm and comforting, the hazelnut tart makes you feel even more at home. With little crunches of caramel and the smoothest ice-cream it fills you with happiness. Its delicious thick centre with nut pieces and almost marzipan taste, merges into the outside pastry with each bite.   It’s pure nutty heaven, and the white chocolate ice-cream gives it a little chocolatey coating before the intense crunch from the caramel decoration explodes. But nothing can compare to the Apple Sorbet. Never has a sorbet tasted EXACTLY like the fruit, this is the crowning glory of the menu. The creation sits so peacefully on the plate it is undoubtedly the most attractive sorbet in London.  Only to be exceeded by the wondrous taste and refreshing fragrant apple. Also delightfully true to its origins, the purée adds a thicker apple taste and the real apple crisps are the indulgent snap topping it all off. 

Offering more than just great food and atmosphere, Charlotte’s W5 boasts its own Bartender’s Workshop which Head Bartender Fredi Viaud is fortunate enough to play in. Take a sneak peak to the left of the bar while waiting for your tipple to glimpse inside. Fredi, Finalist in the 'Young British Foodies' alcohol category, creates seasonal cocktails all about simplicity. He kindly whipped up two off-the-menu cocktails, a Pisco Colada with his own homemade rhubarb and elderflower jam; and  the VIP with pea, mint, and Compass Box Scotch (local Chiswick master blenders). There are plenty of quirky cocktails to choose from in their 52-page Bar Book inspired by the Moleskin notebooks both owners have (note the curved edges).



In completion, Charlotte’s Group has done it again. From their stunning interior with Diesel light fixtures, original stable-block elements and bespoke staircase; to the Michelin-star quality food, impeccable service and friendly atmosphere. It’s original, it’s contemporary, it’s everything you need and want from your third place. You’re home away from home, there isn’t anywhere else you would want to venture out to.



Written by Kitty Bonsall

About the Author


Kitty Bonsall's TryThisFor page

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Food has always been a creative passion for Kitty, from helping her mother at a young age to obtaining a distinction from Leiths School of Food and Wine. An eccentric explorer eager to sample new recipes and restaurants, nothing and nowhere is off the menu. Rarely seen without a glass of Champagne in hand, her wine knowledge complements London’s thriving culinary scene.


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