I HAVE driven down Chiswick High Road on a number of occasions and admired the tempting array of eating and drinking establishments that adorn this fashionable street in west London.
After parking and then being distracted for five minutes, by looking for a possible bargain in a recently opened wine shop, it was the High Road Brasserie that caught my eye.
Even at this stage, early in the evening, it was buzzing with chatter and clinking glasses. We were lucky to get one of the last few remaining tables.
You are immediately struck by the art deco surroundings of this restaurant, which has a real Parisian feel to it and, for a moment, as I looked out on to a darkening High Road with the car headlights glittering in the early evening drizzle, I almost felt as if I had been transported to my favourite capital city.
The spectacular bar design with its bold lighting gives the brasserie an air of class and opulence, as does its authentic art nouveau décor and combined with the classic mosaic-style flooring - make sure you look down and marvel at it - there is a very stylish appearance to this eatery.
But down to the important part of any restaurant - the food. The menu does not disappoint, and there is a varied choice depending on whether you just want a simple snack or a full-blown three-course meal.
We decided on this occasion to just stick to one course, having already indulged in a Thai for lunch at a favourite haunt a bit further down the road in King Street - more of that in a later review.
From the small plates section, on the all day menu, we ordered salmon fishcakes, parma ham and melon and hummus and flatbread. All come in at £5 but if you order three, it will only cost you £13.50 and the portions are fairly generous.
Nicely presented on a wooden board, it is certainly a meal in itself and both the strongly flavoured parma ham and the well spiced hummus were excellent.
The salmon fishcakes were, however, slightly disappointing with only a few sparse flakes of fish to be found among the powerful potato filling.
We also ordered the grilled squid, chilli and rocket salad, which certainly lived up to expectation with the squid delicately cooked, and the chilli gave the dish a fiery taste that lingered on your taste buds after each mouthful. This can either be ordered as a main course at £12 or a starter at £8.
Other tempting dishes on the night were scallops, potato puree and sea vegetables (£8 or £12), duck confit with white beans (£13.50) and from the grill, sardines, celery and caper salad (£9.50) and steak frites and garlic butter (£14).
We thoroughly enjoyed a small carafe of house red wine, which was excellent value at £10.50, with our meal.
In fact, we lingered over the well rounded wine for a while after finishing eating, fascinated by a group of people on a nearby table where one of the diners was feverishly bashing away on his laptop between mouthfuls - must have been important business!
By the time we left, hungry punters were queuing at the door in the slightly damp air for a table in this classy but quite reasonably priced establishment, where the service is swift and smart and the atmosphere and surroundings similar to what you will find in many a Paris café.
The High Road Brasserie is open seven days a week and also serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.