The Henry Root as I found out recently sits firmly in the category of local. It’s been open for about six months now and although not regarded in favourable terms by all reviewers in the beginning it seems to have settled down and become part of the landscape. It’s placed just off the Fulham Road and has the feeling of having arrived fully formed. The set up is an all day eatery serving modern bistro food and a fairly grown up selection of wines which gives it that wine bar angle as well. Come the weekend it is full of families having brunch or a pick of childhood favourites from the children’s menu – think fish fingers and beans, bangers and mash that type of thing.
From our table we had a great view of the world outside, during our visit people kept on wandering along outside and bumping into friends and sitting down at one of the tables on the pavement and eating or drinking together. It really is very nice to watch humanity at work, in such an uncontrived way.
The food on offer is a little bit confusing in its layout on the menu but pretty good on the plate – whatever sized plate it may be served on. We Started with Potted Black Pudding from the ‘Charcuterie’ section of the menu and some of the ‘small’ dishes. Potted Dorset Crab and Toast and Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella, Basil and Garlic Croutes seemed enough to be getting on with. The Black Pudding was really very good, with the consistency of Nutella, which I think is a good thing. It tasted very rich and the portion was too large for me to finish. The Crab was fab, but pricey at £12.50 as there wasn’t enough of it and my other half demolished her ‘large’ plate of Slow Roasted Tomatoes (from the ‘Small Dishes’ menu of course) It was crisp and fresh but for me the Tomatoes weren’t roasted enough, but a nonetheless a good salad at a good price £7.50. I had a freshly pressed Apple, Pear and Ginger fruit juice as well, this was so refreshing and tasty – I recommend it. A daily special appeared in the form of a rich creamy Pea Risotto, this was good, could it make a permanent visit to the menu? It deserves to.
More people started to drift in and everybody seemed to know everybody else. Outside there began an amusing scene whereby a couple of professional dog walkers met on the pavement and the 10 or so dogs they had between them started to cause minor ‘Carry On’ panic for all who approached. The walkers were nearly pulled over several times by the leads of the larger dogs as they entwined legs. This went on for about twenty minutes and frankly had us in stitches.
Our reverie was interrupted by the arrival of Smoked Haddock with Chive Mash, Poached Egg and a light Champagne Sauce, this tasted good and solid with a not overpowering smokiness to it and an absolutely perfectly poached egg. This plate was just the right size and I ate the whole lot with pleasure. Also on the table: Spring Lamb, Crushed Potato, Tomato and Olive Dressing. The Lamb was good and they did something with the potatoes involving herbs that made them very moreish. These I felt were priced sensibly at £15 and £18.50 respectively.
The dog walkers finally moved on and the hustle and bustle of West Brompton life continued around us. From the large windows that fold back on warmer days, the view, we thought was better than any daytime TV show we had seen in a long while.
Some good Lancashire Cheese from Mrs. Kirkham came with really nice thinly sliced toasted Malt Loaf. This I would return for, lovely with butter and cheese. There followed a rather unremarkable Lemon Meringue Pie, some good Sorbets including wonderful Kiwi and Mango and a deconstructed ‘Snickers’ Bar Parfait – which really shouldn’t work but does, rather successfully. I surprised myself by scoffing the lot far too quickly. Not to everybody’s taste as it was quite sweet but isn’t that what a good dessert (or Snicker) should be?
So, this is a place with a lot of potential. I enjoyed the food and thought that the ambience was uber-cool and relaxed. The moving wallpaper of the outside world is an added bonus. Where things need tweaking is with the menu. It’s just easier to offer starters and larger portions than a confusing mixture of ‘small dishes’ and ‘plates’ and ‘charcuterie’ sections. So my advice would be keep the food the same but rewrite the menu, I’m sure the locals will get the hang of it very quickly, as will those who wish to travel some distance to get there (as indeed we did).
9 Park Walk
London SW10 0AJ
020 7352 7040