The Little Chartoom
I had wanted to book a table at The Little Chartroom since reading about its opening a few years ago. Full bookings, a pandemic, and a forced year back in my home country of Italy – all got in the way. Then one day out of the blue I did a random check and there was a slot. For two. For dinner. This promised to be the highlight of my month. The restaurant has a classy, nautical vibe. All is in ship-shape order and the front of house team extend a friendly welcome. The restaurant theme was inspired by top chef Roberta's passion for sailing hence the seafaring charts adorning the walls. Tableware is simple but refined and candlelight ensures a low-key relaxed ambience. We start our foodie experience with some white wine, I choose Cartoixa 2018 from Catalunya, dry but juicy. The food menu is concise but inspired. My starter is Confit Potatoes, Girolles, Wild Leeks, Summer Truffle, Cheese and my friend chooses Mackerel, Gooseberry, Sunflower, Gazpacho. Mis-en-place is arty and precise. Confit potatoes are layered with grated cheese and summer truffle. Complementary savoury flavours envelop the mouth while pickled girolles contribute a sweet punch and the mix of crisp and soft textures adds yet another dimension. Fresh, tasty mackerel is presented in a pool of gooseberry and sunflower gazpacho. My main is meaty Halibut grilled on the bone, cauliflower, curried raisins and sauce. A side of Dauphinoise with a masala crust cleverly marries the two dishes. My friend has Courgette complete with flowers fried in light tempura and served with creamy pesto that all combine in an explosion of freshness. Another plate has Cavatelli, Broad Beans and olives and on a tomato broth. Flavours are equal to those served on a sunny day in Southern Italy. However, we were a little perplexed as to how the two dishes linked as one. The sweetness of double cream in a Caramel Tart is balanced with a citrus sorbet while an also sweet Tunworth cheese is served with herby fenugreek crackers. The Little Chartroom is an experience worth sharing. Ingredients are fresh and genuine, and the creativity and know-how behind the dishes acknowledged by the restaurant’s Michelin recommendation. Service is spotless and the space is ‘tres chic’. Quality carries a proportionate price tag but we thought it was good value.