Sunday, 6 September 2009

All roads lead to...

THEY say all roads lead to Rome.
Well, I say that all roads lead to Birmingham. Because no matter where I am in the world, from Norwich to New York, I am guaranteed to bump into someone from Brum.
And a recent meal at Napa restaurant at the Chiswick Moran Hotel in west London proved no exception.
On introduction, it transpired that Napa's restaurant manager - an Italian named Mark - had arrived in Chiswick from Perry Barr, Birmingham, via a stint at the Watford Gap services. Small world, eh?
While swapping second city tales, Mark helped the boy and I select a wine to accompany our meal, recommending a light Cotes de Provence rose to compliment my cod and the boy's steak.
Rose seemed the fitting wine too, as Napa's interior has a funky '70s feel, which is also reflected in the menu with dishes such as 'open' beef Wellington and steak Diane.
I opted for a 'classic' Napa starter of crayfish and prawn cocktail, which had it been served in a frilly-edged glass goblet, would have been right out of a Fanny Craddock cookbook.
Served instead in lettuce leaf shells, the seafood was succulent and Marie Rose dressing nicely spiced. Accompanying homemade breads were excellent, with a lovely open texture.
The boy's tian of white Dorset crab with avocado and tomato dressing 'tasted a lot better than it looked'. He also commented on the freshness of the seafood.
He was equally impressed by the 'medium' cooking of his steak, although his hand-cut chips were undercooked.
My fillet of cod on saffron-crushed potatoes with mussels and tomato beurre blanc exceeded expectations, while some accompanying green beans still had good crunch.
The boy's Eton mess was packed with fruit and deliciously creamy, while my passion fruit sorbet a good palate cleanser.
Sadly, prices aren't based in the '70s, with main course dishes averaging about £15, but Napa is worth a try if you are in this neck of the woods.
Napa is currently offering 50 per cent off your food bill until September 30. Click here to download the voucher.

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