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Brackenbury - outstanding!

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Restaurants & Bars

Brackenbury - outstanding!

magnolia | Dec 11, 2000 05:20 AM

OK, had a fantastic time there...though Simon was right about the short hike from the Hammersmith underground station in heels. Not so easy (especially *after* dinner!) I needn't have bothered though 'cause everyone else was casual. It's located about 1/4 mile (10 minutes walk) into the inner sanctum of Hammersmith.

Decor: sort of mod with black walls and terra cotta ceilings, upward-pointing half-moon wall sconces - lighting soft & pleasant. No music.

Crowd: many couples, one birthday party, two tables of six each: one table was three couples-of-a-certain age, having a holiday reunion. Other table was six boisterous guys, media and advertising types. I know this because the place was just quiet enough to eavesdrop but not so loud that we couldn't have our own conversation.

Starters: pomegranate, clementine & fennel salad with frisee...really nice and light. I love pomegranate and appreciate anyone who's willing to take it apart on my behalf. Bowl o' perfect mussels in broth - fat, juicy, and unlike those at Bierodrome/Belgo's...each shell had an occupant. Broth was a bit too salty though. Washed down by chenin blanc (name escapes me).

The road not taken: Other starters included (but not ordered) Falafel & kibbeh with chili oil, which I was very tempted to order but wanted something light; also Chicken liver parfait w/chutney & brioche; smoked salmon...about two more.

Mains: I had roast goose w/red cabbage and mash. Just right - crispy fatty skin, just the way I like it - not oily at all. And the meat was just past pink. Mmmm. The mash was added at the last moment so it was snow-white and hadn't yet soaked up the juices, unlike the potato cake that accompanied (or supported, I should say!) the bird I had at The Salt House last weekend, which had basically fallen apart by the time it got to my table) Red cabbage was just right sweet/sour. My date had rack of lamb w/rosemary and spinach - also just pink and juicy, tasted like it had been marinated in the rosemary. He wasn't so impressed and took advantage of my good will on his birthday to avail himself of my goose. But I loved the lamb too so I wasn't fussed. With this we had Ch.-neuf-du-Pape Dom. de Caillou 1998, which was advertised as '96 on the menu but they'd run out. Still really lovely wine.

The road not taken: Several fish opportunities including a roast cod, a Dover Sole; a cheddar omelet w/chips; a steak; and a pasta.

Pudding: shared an apple "charlotte". Resembled nothing so much as a sea-lion with a ball on its nose -the ball being a scoop of vanilla. All covered with yummy but not cloying toffee.

Road not taken: homemade ginger ice cream, armagnac or orange sorbet; profiteroles (which looked fab - people next to us had 'em); Cheese plate...four sort of standard pudding wines (two ports, a muscat de beaume de Venise and one other I can't recall) available by glass and a Vin Santo which we would have ordered but it was only available in the bottle.

Service: attentive but not obtrusive. Nobody said "I'll have to lean over you!"

Altogether a lovely meal. Pet peeve rises again though - I sat next to the only person smoking in the whole room. It must be me. Someone who smoked between courses. I still just don't get it - 1) why anyone would do this, and 2) why a small restaurant with no obvious ventilation would allow it.
Prices: starters between £5-8, mains between £15-20; puddings: £5 or so...bottom line: without wine, we might have limbo'ed under £60.

Atmosphere: upmarket neighbourhood joint.

PS There's a bespoke hat shop across the street - Hepsibah Hats (I think) - that looks really interesting. Open by appointment only.

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