Sam’s Brasserie, Chiswick

Comfort Sundays

The Vibe

The best moments happen on park benches. How charming was Tom Hanks in Forrest Jump, chocolate box on lap, asking cinema goers to shed a tear at his profound declarations? Or Zoey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer being wooed on a bench in sepia tones overlooking Downtown LA? Glorious. But here in London, where summer has not arrived and Parliament Hill is not yet awash with lovers, we must go elsewhere for our wooden bench romance.

Enter Sam’s Brasserie.  Now I don’t want to misinform you, the benches aren’t the main feature, but they’re the one that stike a lover’s chord. If you are lucky enough to shotgun one of the central tables, you’ll find yourself sitting on two very lovely benches that, as the meal goes on, encourage you to give up your own and share thiers. Cue the cuddles. This is just a part of the charm of this neighbourhood brasserie. It is very much about comfort food, family, the occasional infant, friendly groups and dates intermingled, locals perching on the bar in the entrance, flatmates gathering around too much red wine and the occasional stray character. It’s exactly like park life, just inside where it’s safe and warm. So Chiswick.

The Order

So, the food is very good, not exceptional, but just right for the mood. Some things exceed expectations (delicately fried calamari, great focaccia), others meet them (most of the mains). The chargrilled leg of lamb with colcannon, spinach and wild mushrooms is a perfect Sunday night meal with a bottle of red and an insanely smooth burrata with clementines, honey glazed almonds and chilli & mint dressing to start. Strategic booze as and when you need it.

The Game

Although brunch is served, I’d recommend this as an early evening Sunday date. That way you avoid the kids, have a greater chance of getting the benches, and can listen to some jazz in the bar and make the most of the 5pm-7pm happy hour. Ordinarily I wouldn’t recommend having a big night out before a date but this time round there’s nothing better than just about making it through your hangover on Sunday to leave bed at 4pm, put on something cosy-sexy (Girls: jeans, off shoulder t-shirt, messy hair. Guys, blue jeans, purple sweaters) and just about make it to the bar, sighing relief into your Bloody Mary. If your main focus is initially on monitoring blood sugar levels, you will think less about the awkwardness of a date and conversation becomes easy, random and very silly. Plus there are tales of last night to kick you off. Move to the restaurant, order a bottle of red with the meaty meal and make sure you have crept onto their bench by dessert. Then move to a booth in the bar and sleepily snog. Go back to theirs to spoon, no more.

The Faults

Children- if they’re on good behaviour they set the scene, if on bad, they can ruin it.

Sex Factor

1. High snuggle factor.

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