Chiswick High Road was the first place I lived when I arrived in London in the 1990s, so i’ve always been very fond of hanging out there. These days it’s just a bus ride away from where we live in Ealing so we can pretend we’re almost residents 😉
Jamie Oliver’s ever expanding portfolio of restaurants landed on the High Road a year ago in the form of Union Jacks. It looks super funky on the outside, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect when we were invited along to give it a whirl at the weekend.
It’s a bit of this and a bit of that in terms of concept. Despite having a very British name, the food itself is a mishmash of Italian/American but with bold British flavours and dishes jostling for position too.
According to the website: “At Union Jacks, we want to take you on a journey of discovery through Britain and reintroduce you to familiar flavours, cooked and presented the Union Jacks way. Our incredible flatbread pizzas and wood-fired cooking methods nod to traditions that are universally loved, and nearly all of the ingredients for the toppings are unabashedly local. We take a lot of pride in our sourcing philosophy, and look to our own back garden first in order to celebrate the wonderful growers, farmers and winemakers we have here in this country.
Ours is a union of ideas, traditions, and of people.”
We still weren’t sure what we were going to eat when we got there, but here’s how it went when our family of four landed off the E3 bus for Sunday lunch!
Split over two floors, i’d definitely recommend sitting upstairs with lovely views up and down the High Road. 1970s televisions on the walls, formica topped tables, fresh flowers, all bathed in glorious natural light from the huge windows and glass-roofed ceiling up on the first floor. The vibe is modern with flashes of nostalgia, as opposed to some cloying shrine to the 1970s which is what I had been anticipating.
We were warmly welcomed, swiftly ushered upstairs and there was a jug of water on the table within minutes. The team of staff were calm and friendly, seemed to be enjoying their shift and put us at our ease.
Any questions were quickly answered and the children didn’t seem to phase them either.
The menu isn’t bamboozingly long so it didn’t take us hours to choose what we wanted. The starters are easy to share, with dishes like fish fingers, garlic mushrooms and woodland grill sausages and bacon on offer. I opted for a wedge of blue cheese drizzled with Richmond honey and hazelnut brittle with salad and slices of pear. I love these flavours and it was a delicious starter – quite big though!
Matthew had the garlic mushrooms which were drenched in a very addictive rapeseed mayonnaise. The prawn cocktail looked lovely arriving at the next table in a jam jar, so if we go back I’ll definitely be trying that!
As a vegetarian there wasn’t a huge amount of choice for Matthew, so he went for the Woodman Pizza which was topped with a mixture of mushrooms, cheddar, red onion, tarragon and chervil. I don’t think it touched the sides.
I wasn’t sure what mood I was in, so opted for the steak. A whopping 10oz rump steak turned up with watercress and sweet roasted red onion – I got a side of crinkle cut chips which took me straight back to my mum’s home made deep fat fryer chips – divine! The meat was soft and perfectly cooked – just right for someone who saves red meat for special occasions.
There really weren’t a huge range of desserts to choose from. Matthew ended his meal with the retro Black Forest Gateau which he said was tasty but the Cranberry bakewell tart with soured cream and orange I had was a real winner. It tasted freshly baked and the updated flavours really elevated it out of it’s traditional status. Will have that again!
The kids menu was short and simple and at £6 pretty good value. For that they got a drink, a main course and a scoop of ice-cream from the grown up menu.
Sam opted for pizza and got a generous margarita that he happily munched his way through. Arlo went for the sausage and bacon lollipops which were cute. They each had a portion of the divine crinkle cut chips but could have done with some greenery too, and I was a tad surprised it didn’t automatically get put on their plates and that we should have asked for it. Will certainly ask next time!
Entertainment wise there was the usual glass of crayons and a colouring in sheet, but the staff were quite captivating with the boys so that certainly helped.
Value for money
At about £5 for a starter, £10-£15 for a main and £5 for a pudding, it’s certainly not over-priced given its location and celebrity links. And for that money you’re getting generous portions of delicious freshly cooked food.
I felt like I wanted even more British options – like toad in the hole, pies, sausage and mash etc BUT the food that we had was so delicious and fresh that it’s a really enjoyable place to eat. I’d really recommend it to anyone needing a laid back venue for a family meal that’s a step up from the local gastro pub.
We were guests of Union Jacks
217-221 Chiswick High Road,
0203 617 9988