Surprises. Some people love ‘em. Some people hate ‘em. Me? I’m somewhere in between. The Brackenbury, located in Hammersmith, boast a menu that changes daily. As Forest Gump once said, ‘life is like a b̶o̶x̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶c̶h̶o̶c̶o̶l̶a̶t̶e̶s̶ Brackenbury menu, you never know what you’re gonna get’. Taking the plunge, I payed them a visit mid-week to see what dishes they had in store for me.
Tap out at Hammersmith tube station and you’ll find The Brackenbury a 10 minute stroll away, (down a couple of quiet, residential streets, that is). Reaching our destination dead on 7.30pm, we couldn’t help but notice how quiet the venue was. There was only one table of four seated inside but our attention was also drawn to the beautiful terrace area out front (where we ended up sitting for the evening). Small tables draped in white cloth were spread across the patio area which also features some simple potted greenery. Even if you weren’t here to sample the food, I’d highly recommend sitting on the patio with a cold glass of wine - it’s a right lil’ spot for a catch up or to savour some peace of mind (which is needed in a big and bold city like London). Indoors, the walls are adorned with dozens of black and white picture frames and white-washed wood takes centre stage. To my surprise the venue spins out in the shape of a horse shoe, it curls all the way around offering plenty of seating across Brackenbury's entire space. Ultimately, it’s an intimate and warm West London hangout with a cosy neighbourhood feel.
The Food and Drink
I nearly consider it a sin for one table to order the same starter/main/dessert, but Brackenbury’s spiced crab, fennel and chilli agnolotti £11.25 was the shining star of the starter section and demanded immediate attention at our table for two. Served swiftly, the agnolotti came out presented on a warm plate in three neat parcels; from the first mouthful you could tell the pasta was homemade. Not too spicy, but with just the right kick, the starter blew our minds with its combination of flavours - we noticed a hint of zest after the first parcel was devoured. Seasonal and light, it was a great summer choice.
Talking mains, my trusted steed took a shine to the roast lamb rump that came with green beans and swiss chard gratin £18.25. I’m not a massive lamb fan, so I skipped demanding a forkful, but I was informed the meat was tender and cooked to sheer perfection. Meanwhile, I gave another firm nod towards Brackenbury’s intriguing fish selection. The baked hake fillet came in a mussel and borlotti bean broth with aioli and priced; and priced at £17.75, it was more than worth the price tag. The borlotti beans, which are used a lot in Italian cooking, were soft with a creamy texture and complimented the overall dish. Ultimately, my main was as tasty as it was comforting; packed with nutrients, it was a healthy, guilt-free dinner. Never one to shy away from side orders, me and my companion ordered a portion of frites £3.50 and green beans £4 to go with our mains. The chips came served pipping hot and crispy while the green beans maintained a crunch and came lightly coated in butter.
The Clientele and Atmosphere
Like I already mentioned above, the Brackenbury was quiet and lacking atmosphere at the beginning of the night. As the evening skipped on, tables began to fill up, particularly outside, and it became a little utopia for Londoners and locals seeking solace from their hectic lifes. The clientele was quite eclectic; there were business people laughing, couples agreeing to disagree and lots of talking and drinking underway from a few friends.
Brackenbury’s ever-changing menu takes inspiration from British and Italian roots guarantees a well-rounded and anything-but-bland food offering upon every visit. If you're ever headed West, take my advice and pay this little gem a visit.