Shove over Battersea Power Station, it seems the next stop for leading restaurants to set up shop is White City. The newly developed Television Centre is slowly transforming into a destination for foodies.
Leading the bandwagon and one of the first to take residence is the second outpost of the Bluebird Cafe. After an iconic run at Chelsea for 20 years, it’s time that West London gets a slice of this Chelsea institution.
The interiors (designed by Sagrada) are bright and cheerful, with pops of colour, pattern and interesting lighting bringing a sort of retro ’70s glamour feel.
We grazed on nibbles of Tamarind Spiced Chicken (£5.5) and Cornish Chorizo (£5). The crispy chicken particularly, marinated in a potent, sour sauce, was quite addictive. These would go down well alongside a couple of drinks.
With the weather turning and the promise of Spring around the corner, I was in the mood for seafood. The heap of Fried Quisquilla Prawns (£11.75) transported me right to the English seaside, with its lightly coated fresh-from-the-sea crunchy prawns, a generous sprinkle of chilli on top and garlic aioli to dip into.
Kris, also in the mood for something salubrious, opted for the Crayfish, Spinach and Baby Potato Salad (£11.50). It had lots of fresh, light and clean flavours and would be perfect as a side to share or on its own for a light lunch with a glass of crisp white wine on the side.
The pescatarian theme extended to the mains. I opted for the Grilled Sea Bass with Spring Greens, Ginger and Spring Onions (£16.50). The fish was soft within, quite fleshy and perfectly crisped on top. It was a nice on-point version for what is a very classic fish dish.
The showstopper of the evening was the Calabrian ‘Nduja Crusted Yellowfin Tuna (£18.50). This will be the dish that will singlehandedly turn a meat fiend like me. I was gutted that Kris spotted this first. It was truly a spectacular plate of food. The rich, silky, sumptuous slabs of tuna were deliciously spiked by the oily n’duja. Whilst I only had a nibble (that’s all Kris would allow me) this will definitely be one of the top dishes of 2018.
I didn’t realise that Bluebird is part of the D&D London group. Having visited a couple of their restaurants over the years (Skylon, German Gymnasium, 100 Wardour Street, Fiume, Quaglinos), I was confident we would be in good hands.
We didn’t have room left for Desserts but I spotted an enormous Banana Split being devoured at the next table. That alone will be the reason for me to return, albeit with an empty stomach.
The new Bluebird has all the elegance and aplomb of the original brand but is a lot more fun and less formidable than its Chelsea counterpart. Give it a go!
Location: Bluebird Cafe, 2 Television Centre, 101 Wood Lane, London W12 7R
More information can be found here.