Back when Amelia, Alisha and I worked together in Chiswick our favourite restaurant to visit for lunch or for a bottle of wine after work was Villandry. Our chosen branch in Chiswick has now closed...sad face...but a new Villandry has opened in St James! Yay!!
And with a voucher from Zomato burning a hole in my pocket, I knew the perfect people to take along with me for a trip down memory lane at our (kind of) old haunt.
The restaurant interior was actually very different to our old Chiswick favourite, which was quite a simple cafe style restaurant with a takeaway bakery selling artisan loaves and cakes.
Villandry St James was much grander with red leather banquettes, a high ceiling and two distinct dining areas. Don't be put off by the fact it looks rather empty, I was there very early, and by 7.30 the place was packed out giving it a lively and vibrant atmosphere.
And when the A-team are together we always celebrate!
Browsing the modern European menu we decided to share a trio of starters.
A raw baby vegetable platter with delicious dips including tapenade, artichoke puree and beetroot hummus.
Salt and pepper squid was perfectly crunchy and well-seasoned, accompanied by tartar sauce.
And a perennial fave of mine...salmon tartare. Yes...salmon again....
Alisha chose monkfish served with leeks, chorizo, courgette and carrot. She enjoyed the robust flavours of the fish that she'd never tried before but with the abundant amount of carrot on the plate she struggled to get through it all!
Amelia and I both chose sea bass with artichokes, quail eggs, sundried tomatoes, broad beans, green beans and olives. Everything on the plate was beautifully cooked and the dish combined some of my favourite foods. My only issue was that it was slightly lukewarm and some of the ingredients were cold which made a bit of an odd contrast.
One thing Villandry certainly does well is desserts:
Our platter of miniatures contained a raspberry macaron, creme brulee, pineapple carpaccio, mini rhum baba and a chocolate square. My favourite was, of course, the macaron!
And ever since that famous M & S advert who can a resist and melt-in-the-middle chocolate fondant served with delicious vanilla ice cream!
The girls and loved the new Villandry and it certainly lived up to our old favourite but with added glamour!
Do you have a favourite after work restaurant?
Thank you to Zomato for contributing to the cost of the meal
Villandry St James
2 Waterloo Place
020 7930 3305