Sam’s fulfils its brasserie brief to a T: drinkers catered for at the front bar; diners offered solid global cooking all day, in the dining area to the left; a soundtrack that’s inoffensive without being bland (the Smiths to Jerry Lee Lewis); and staff who are well drilled if not effusive in dealing with Chiswick society (lone businessmen, couples, families). There’s a cheap early dinner, and a menu that extends from ribeye steak clichés to Mediterranean favourites in the tapas line and even a Goan fish and prawn curry. Crisply attired staff briskly take your coat and offer jugs of tap water unprompted.
Unfortunately, the chef’s timings were out on our visit: both the padrón peppers and the squid were chewy rather than, respectively, toothsome and crunchy, and the anchovy mayonnaise with the squid seemed rather light on salty fish. Only a full-flavoured, exceptionally creamy garlic soup starter, accompanied by bread of yeoman solidity, excelled. During a midweek dinner, the bar was livelier than the restaurant – perhaps no surprise given the long, curated wine list with several options available by the bottle, 500ml carafe or glass.