Hereford Road is a restaurant located in an old Victorian butcher’s shop in Westbourne Grove. The head chef, a chap called Tom Pemberton, used to be in charge of the kitchen at St. John Bread and Wine, which is obvious when looking at the menu; simple and seasonal cooking – which is never a bad thing.
It was a charming restaurant with mini booth seats for two in the entrance area opposite the completely open kitchen. We were however seated in the more straightforward dining room out the back, underneath a giant circular glass window in the ceiling which was pleasant.
The daily changing menu was printed on a piece of A4 paper. To start, I opted for the ‘lamb’s sweetbreads, green beans and mint’ (£7.50). The sweetbreads were plentiful and perfectly cooked, it was just a shame the beans were cold as they would have been far more enjoyable served warm. The flavour was cracking though.
My gentleman companion opted for the ‘marinated smoked haddock, potatoes, horseradish’ (£7.50) which was a really tasty plate of food. Although the horseradish was almost unnoticeable, the oily haddock along with the intensely smokey potatoes was a thoroughly enjoyable combination.
Things went slightly downhill from there. A seriously long wait ensued for our main courses. My gentleman companion enjoyed his guinea fowl with lentils (£14.50) which came exactly as described but my roast leg of black face lamb (£16.50) wasn’t quite so successful. The lamb, although served pink, was tough and chewy. The accompanying celeriac and anchovy was so inedibly salty that it remained mostly uneaten. It was so fishy too, which completely overpowered what little flavour the lamb had. A side of greens (£4) came unseasoned and sitting in a bowl full of water; boiled, watery greens – not hugely pleasant!
For dessert, the gingerbread with toffee sauce (£6), which lacked the promised ginger flavouring, was a good sponge pudding but the dollop of lemon curd that lay atop was so horrendously overpowering. The ‘meringue, poached pear, chocolate and hazelnuts’ (£5.50) felt like two different puddings. The meringue with cream and hazelnuts was delicious, but the addition of a watery poached pear felt completely out of place. No harmonious pairing of flavours here!
Service throughout our dinner was a bit lacking in warmth and enthusiasm; the staff certainly weren’t rude but weren’t particularly friendly either. Our waiter failed to tell us about the ‘specials’ which was a tad annoying, it was only because we heard them being told to another table that we actually knew there were any. I imagine if you catch Hereford Road on a good day, then it’s bloody brilliant, but during our bank holiday Monday visit, it was far from it.