Anthony Brown visits the haunt of ‘Notting Hill Wives’, Chucs Westbourne Grove
Our editor reviewed Chucs in Dover Street, Mayfair in August 2015 and in their more recently opened Westbourne Grove restaurant and café, I discovered something with many similarities to its elder brother.
Slightly more akin to The Talented Mr Ripley’s Marge Sherwood in terms of its ‘persona’ as opposed to the serious and loucher Dickie Greenleaf of the Mayfair original, Chucs Westbourne Grove is a haunt that is very much a favourite of ‘Notting Hill Wives’ (generally American or Italian and generally the wives of bankers and hedge fund managers). On the lunchtime I visited, I noted such people sat in groups of three – “not two and never four” seems to be their mantra – and that Chanel handbags and Daylesford carrier bags were definite essential extras. Surprisingly, however, these normally health conscious ladies quaffed cocktails like water and moved away from their typical choice of kale salads and could be seen enthusiastically eating scaloppina chicken paillard with rocket and parmesan (£19). Nigella Lawson would be delighted.
Split over two levels, Chucs Westbourne Grove is bright and spacious. Well-spaced tables with crisp white cloths, delicate glassware and vintage photographs of the Italian coast set the scene. Here is a restaurant where an overdose of informality hasn’t been allowed to creep in yet here equally is a place where a relaxed meal can comfortably be had. An outside dining space to the rear was not ready on my visit but it will most certainly be a perfect place to spend a forthcoming summer’s day.
Sheer indulgence features at the top of the menu in the form of baked potatoes with 50g of Russian Oscietra caviar (£95) but sharing a simpler cobb salad (£18) with chicken with my companion was very much on our agenda. Next we tried a favourite from Chucs Mayfair – bigoli cacio e pepe (£15/£20). It was slightly richer than that tried at the aforementioned but utterly delicious. I’d come back for that again and again.
Continuing, I opted for a fillet of sea bass with a salad dressed with puntarelle chicory and anchovy (£31). Though I would have preferred it served as a whole, it was perfectly cooked and my companion’s rib eye steak with Roman chicory (also £31) was flavourful and tender.
To conclude, we shared both tiramisu (£6) and zabaglione with strawberries (£8). Both were perfectly delicious and washed down with several glasses of crisp glasses of 2013 Pinot Bianco Classico (£10.50 per glass, £40 per bottle), we left entirely satisfied.
Chucs, 226 Westbourne Grove, London, W11 2RH. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7243 9136.
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