Sue Choularton visits Wimbledon Hill's Piaf restaurant
I picked a chilly night to visit Piaf in Wimbledon, but immediately got a warm welcome as I walked into the restaurant and looked a little lost as I awaited the arrival of my friend.
Piaf styles itself as a Mediterranean restaurant, cafe and bar, and it certainly has a continental ambiance that whisks you right away from Wimbledon Hill Road.
It wasn't long before my friend joined me, and we were taken to a table in the rear room of the restaurant. It certainly looks bigger than you might think from outside and there's a conservatory and garden for summer-time dining.
We were after something to warm us up, and my friend opted for the tomato soup starter - listed on the menu as "rustic French soup with roasted tomatoes, garlic, herbs and basil".
I had a taster and it was certainly a flavourful broth, with a spicy edge to it that made it a perfect winter starter. My bruschetta toscana (plum tomato, basil and herbs on garlic ciabatta) was a generous portion and would have been enough for two people to share.
For my main course, I opted for the roasted Atlantic cod "livornese". This was baked in a tomato and white wine sauce with olives and chick peas. I love olives and this sounded like an unusual combination - not a dish I've seen elsewhere. I feel you can't have cod without potatoes (perhaps it's because I'm a northerner), so I also ordered a side order of Dauphinoise potatoes.
The cod was flaky and perfectly baked. The sauce was tasty and I did really like the olive and chick pea combination. Once I'd added some of the potatoes, it certainly made it a very filling meal - just right for the time of year.
My companion had "pollo al formaggio caprino" - goat's cheese and spinach-stuffed chicken breast with mashed potato and red pepper sauce. Again, this sounded like a dish with a difference, but my friend said the flavours all worked well together and the chicken was as perfectly cooked as my cod.
From the wine list, I'd opted for Semillion Chardonnay Willowglen, while my friend had Merlot Remy Pannier. Each 250ml glass cost £5.75.
Sadly we had no room for desserts, but the menu include homemade Piaf banoffee pie, Belgian Cinnamon waffle and homemade passion fruit tart. They looked good value at £4.50 each, but we settled for a coffee each instead.
As we rounded off our meal, I noticed the restaurant was by no means full, but there were enough people around enjoying their evening to give a bit of buzz to the place and add to the Mediterranean feel.
The service had been excellent right from my arrival, so I wasn't sorry that the service charge (£6.28) was added to the bill - which came to £56.53. It was a reasonable price to pay for a night that certainly made us forget the cold outside!
Sue Choularton is the Editor of WimbledonSW19.com which is the latest addition to the Neighbour Net groups of websites.
June 7, 2010