Bianco Nero Serves Up A Masterchef Treat

Master Chef James Nathan cooks up a storm at contemporary Italian

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james nathan at bianco nero

James Nathan

Eating out in Hammersmith

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Bianco Nero
206-208 Hammersmith Road, W6 7DP

Reservations 020 8748 0212

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Just next to Hammersmith roundabout, a place not known for being one of serenity, sits a little bolthole named Bianco Nero, a restaurant serving modern Italian food and a stylish bar stuffed with comfy chairs - my idea of a perfect living room, in fact.

And after a rather sluggish journey up the A4, it was bliss to step into the black and white decorated interior, have a glass of champagne and tuck into some delicious bread with olive oil.

Opened in October 2007 by Claire Derry and Tim Etchells, Biano Nero was show-casing the talents of this year’s Master Chef winner James Nathan the evening we attended.

As we arrived, Chiswick resident James was doing the rounds of the tables chatting to diners before retiring to the kitchen to begin creating the type of master pieces that won him the coveted award.

Our starter was scallops with pancetta and parsnip puree topped with parsnip crisps. What’s to not like? All beautifully cooked and presented.

Our next course was venison, red cabbage and fondant potato, again perfectly cooked and beautifully presented. I am now a venison convert having previously avoided it believing it to be a strongly flavoured meat however, in James’ hands it was a lovely variation on beef. As for the fondant potato – that was complete bliss. I felt sorry for any non-carb eaters there that night as the potato was beyond compare.

For pudding we were presented with something that resembled a large Oreo cookie albeit one that had been brought up on the right side of the tracks. Two discs of chocolate sponge were stuck together with cream and topped with a curl of chocolate mousse. Once again, thank goodness for carbs!

After the meal, James escaped from the kitchen and we managed to nab him to answer a few questions.

Although James lives in Chiswick the claims on his time working in various kitchens means he has not had a lot of opportunity to explore it. Happily his two favourite watering holes, The Bollo and the Duke of Sussex, happen to be the two closest to him.
He’d like to try Le Vacherin if he ever gets an evening off but of all the chefs, the one he most admires is Marco Pierre White - perhaps he should add Frankie’s to his list? - And he admits to fancying Nigella: join the queue, James!

Asked what his ideal dinner party would be, James said he would like to have Marco as a guest and a menu of poached lobster, followed by duck and then a nice bit of sponge with ice cream.

Eventually, James would like to open restaurant by the sea. I mooted the idea of him opening a Thames-side restaurant but didn’t feel I convinced him.

I now have two things added to my list: revisit Bianco Nero to sample their usual menu and wallow in their bar and find a comparable fondant potato.

Caroline Villiers

January 7, 2009