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American Restaurants in Chiswick

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      11.03.2008 17:16
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      bad name, great burger

      I was in Hammersmith the other week with friends having a look around the shops & we wandered so far we ended up in Chiswick. Chiswick has a bit of a reputation for being a dining destination, although for the life of me I can't work out why - I haven't been there for years and it still looks as run down an area now as it did before. Anyway, we were all very hungry & I picked Ground as our lunch spot after being drawn to the balloons floating around the windows. It turned out they were having a burger festival to draw in a few customers, certainly worked with us.
      ARRIVING

      The outside of the restaurant (?) was quite misleading, green signage & a stylish understated wooden framing to doors & windows but once you were inside it was quite clear that it was a gourmet burger shop. As soon as we got in the door we could smell the burgers grilling in the corner, a huge extractor was pulling the smoke up but the smell was definitely enticing us in further. Looking around the ground floor I could only see one comfy booth or half a dozen high stools around the counter, the rest of the seating was made up of small tables & hard looking silver chairs so I asked if we could go upstairs.
      The upstairs couldn't have been any more different. The middle of the room was a double height ceiling so you could see the tables below, the sash windows were all open & letting in plenty of light but my favorite, there were plenty of American style diner booths to sit in. In keeping with the silver chairs, there were a couple of huge silver pieces of art on one wall, the other walls being left as exposed brick.

      THE MEAL
      Once we had got settled in we picked up the menus, which were paper place mat style, and marveled at the array of burgers on offer. In the same vein as GBK(gourmet burger kitchen) the rapidly expanding burger store, there were plenty of weird and wonderful options alongside the classics.

      As I said before, we were starving so we really went for it when we ordered. I had a Venison burger with cranberry chutney which was very nice but not noticeably venison (I eat quite a lot of it at home since it's virtually fat free). The 'extras' under the bun were not over done as they sometimes can be; too much lettuce and slices of tomato tend to drop out when they are. The whole thing held together well after I had sliced it in half (too big to pick up in one go) and was altogether really good.
      My friends had classic chicken which was an organic chicken breast with undefined relish. lettuce tomato etc and a New York deli burger. The New York deli was my 2nd choice so I pinched a bit of this too, much to my friends annoyance. This one was beef, cheese, coleslaw, relish, lettuce, tomato & was much more difficult to hold together. I would have liked a bit of pastrami on it too as that makes something 'NY deli' in my mind but I couldn't fault it from a beef point of view.
      The burger prices ranged from £6.75 to £7.35 fro the venison option which I think is very reasonable for a top end burger, certainly cheaper than I have paid in gastro pubs. BUT, on top of those we also had quite a few other extras which left us with a much larger tab than I was planning on. Everything on the menu was available as vegetarian- they just switch the meat for a veggie patty.
      Fries come in a metal tub, in keeping with the silver theme & were skin on, skinny fries. Very tasty, not over salted but at the end of the day I am a chunky chip fan.
      Onion rings, again in a metal tub, plenty of them and all a good 2 inch diameter but dips were extra so we ended up paying another pound for barbeque sauce.
      Courgette chips - I always like to pick something a bit different when I eat out so we ordered a side of these, deep fried slithers of courgette with a mysterious crispy coating. Most of the coating dropped off when you picked them up (from the metal pot) but they were an intriguing addition to our order. A little bit salty for me, but still nice.

      Even after all that we still had room for pudding, not because any of it was not filling or small, purely my sweet tooth. Only 2 of us ordered anything but it wasnt' long until the 3rd spoon appeared. The Chocolate pudding, while expensive at £4.50, was simply to die for, very rich and topped with organic vanilla ice cream, served warm to help the ice cream melt into the sponge mmmm. The other one was toffee banana cheesecake, more crumbly and biscuity than you would expect from a regular cheesecake, definitely another winner.
      Drinks - The usual suspects, coke, diet coke, sprite were all there but there were some interesting additions listed that I don't see very often when I eat out like Magners & real ginger beer. We had a couple of cokes & 2 bottles of wine from a choice of about 12.They were all priced around £12-£17, so very reasonable.

      SERVICE
      All the time we were eating this the waitress was regularly popping back to check we were ok, clearing away the masses of silver pots we had accumulated- and importantly these days, smiling all the time. All the staff seemed to be genuinely happy to be working there unlike in some places where they are pre-programmed to ask you a set of questions in an attempt to up-sell more.

      THE BILL
      We had been there for about 2 hours, the booth we were sat in was so comfortable I had completely lost track of time. When the bill finally came I was quite surprised to see £71 on the bottom but at £23 a head with wine it's not really that expensive for 3 (if you count sides as a course) courses.
      Wine x2 £27
      Burgers x3 £21
      puds x2 £8.50
      Extras £16

      GETTING THERE
      Go to Turnham green tube station on the district line (or if you are form outside London, go to London then.....) turn left from the station, right at the top of the street and you will see it, approximately 5 minutes walk (opposite Pizza express).

      OTHER BITS
      The whole place is non smoking, there are a few tables outside if it's sunny, there's a kids menu & salads, so something for everyone (even a few veggie options). The toilets are in the basement, I didn't go so I can't describe them for you. The burger festival comprised of a couple of specials & some different cheeses you could sample before adding to your burger as an extra. There were some children there when we visited but the customers were mostly single men downstairs or groups of early 20 year olds upstairs.

      OVERALL
      I would eat here again and I would recommend it to friends, If you have been to GBK, Ground is not overly different but the waitress service is definitely a plus & it's a lot more comfortable. Not expensive really, had I not been starving it would have been closer to £15 per head rather than £23. Obviously I wouldn't eat here several times a week as a red meat diet isn't as good for you as I wish it was but the next time I am in west London I will be going back for sure, this time swapping the dessert for one of those 6 scoops of ice cream milkshakes mmmm

      The Earls score
      9 udders out of 10

      also posted on ciao

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