Leafy Richmond has an edge, hard to believe, but it comes in the form of Rock and Rose a funky, happening restaurant on Kew Road. It’s not new, it’s been there for some time and is a West London stalwart, yet I went along to give it a try. I arrived just after 7.30pm onTuesday after the Easter Bank Holiday and it buzzing. My dining companion Sarah was already sitting with the menu waiting for me and we had a really lovely table for two by the picture window. Cocktail drinkers stood at the bar, women were sipping champagne on the heated patio and back inside, the restaurant appeared to be packed to the gills. The interior is Agent Provocateur (think the AP pink and black colour-way and add to that red roses) meets the Palace of Versailles (Louis XVI-style studded upholstery, big candelabra, and a lot of mirrors).
That’s where the similarities end because the dishes are modern European and British, embellished with a little Pacific fusion.
Our waitress was the very helpful Renee and she could see we had arrived straight from work so a swift offer of the drinks menu and for us a move directly to the cocktail list. I opted for the traditional Cosmopolitan (£7.95) and Sarah ordered The Yeti (£7.95). Raspberry vodka, creme de mure, pomegranate and lemon juice, served in a long glass, and garnished with a plump blackberry, she said it was delicious and that she could have drunk 10 (she didn’t). My Cosmo went down a little too easily and far too quickly.
We moved on to the a la carte menu and starters Sarah had garlic and chilli king prawns with coriander and lemon (£8.95) as ever with this kind of shell-on starter, the true flavour is often discarded with the shell. That said, the prawns were fresh, perfectly grilled and she said, pretty tasty.
I had the pan seared tuna which was the perfect starter size, nice cuts of tuna, served with a miso and wasabi dip (£9.95).
The whole sea bass with chilli, ginger, spring onion, Thai basil and pak choy (£18.95) arrived on the neighbouring table and it was a total showstopper. From crooking my neck I could see that a sea bass had been carefully arranged on its side, taking up most of the plate, the diner, flaked away the bright white meat and there were a lot of camera flashes going on and rightly so. An impressive looking plate of food.
Another cocktail for me, but as it was a school night Sarah stuck wisely to the tap water. The frozen strawberry daiquiri (£7.95) left me with head freeze because of my greed to suck up the booze but this was a great tactic as it lasted until the end of my courses.
I had the lobster Caesar salad with avocado, bacon and garlic crouton (£21.95). You may think that’s a little on the steep side price-wise but the dish was big, with a decent lobster to avocado ratio, and I didn’t have to forage for ingredients David Bellamy style. Well crisped bacon was salty and worked well with the smooth avocado and the one anchovy I found was discarded immediately. Rather than a mass of garlic croutons, the dish was garnished with a piece of garlic bread which was perfect for me. This ensures that the diner doesn’t have to pick out soggy, dressing-soaked cubes which so often you have to when you order a fancy salad. Renee suggested I have the hand-cut chips (£3.50) and I took her advice but the dish was large and I had about three of the delicious skin-on fries. I’m sure if you have a very healthy appetite then the side dish would be a welcome addition. I can only imagine the kind of stamina you’ll need to tackle the restaurant’s shrimp surf and turf, a rib-eye steak served with shrimps in garlic butter and those hand-cut chips (£29.50) .
There was plenty of choice on offer and other dishes included lobster linguine (£21.95) a vegetarian tagine, a monkfish curry, a Teriyaki tuna burger and a beef bourguignon.
Sarah had half a roast corn-fed chicken, lemon aioli and hand cut rock fries (£15.95). Again a huge main course of which she ate about half. Well cooked moist chicken with a lovely flavoursome skin. The picture really doesn’t do it too much justice.
Of course we left room for desserts. I had the dense warmed chocolate brownie (£5.95) with vanilla ice cream (instead of the white chocolate) and it was studded with decent pecan chunks.
Sarah picked the winner in the apple and raspberry crumble with custard (£5.95) the crunchy topping full of butter with plenty of fruit to uncover. It came with its own jug of vanilla-studded custard.
Their mantra is food, passion and glamour, for once a restaurant that actually delivers what it claims. You should go and try out this buzzing restaurant but my one piece of advice to you is make sure you visit on an empty stomach.
Rock and Rose is easy to reach with Richmond overground and underground a brisk ten minute walk away.
Rock and Rose, 106-108 Kew Road, Richmond, TW9 2PQ
(020) 8948 8008