The Carpenters Arms in Black Lion Lane

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91 Black Lion Lane Telephone: 020 8222 8275

Nestled in one of the leafier streets in the area, The Carpenters Arms has recently opened for business and is serving posh 'gastropub' type fare.

Located in Black Lion Lane close to the boundary Chiswick/Hammersmith, the pub's previous incarnation was as the popular Lazy Vine.

This pub was described last year by a Hammersmith Today restaurant reviewer as 'as good as my last visit to the River Café, but at about a third of the price representing good value for money'. Obviously the new Carpenters Arms has a lot to live up to.

The new pub has elegant, trendy furnishings, but as it was a rare June sunny evening, my dining partner and I decided to sit outside in the walled garden. This was very pleasant, and the garden soon filled up with young professionals enjoying a Wednesday night out.

We decided to start with a delicious cocktail called a golden Passion Fruit cocktail as we looked at the menu. There was a huge choice of starters, but only half as many main courses, and the main dishes were not given a detailed description. One dish read simply 'steak frites', and the dish called 'rabbit, bacon, carrots and mustard' left me wondering how these ingredients were to be put together.

My dining companion and I decided to try the creamed goat's cheese, beetroot and shallot salad and the potted shrimps on sour dough toast. Other starters included asparagus with melted butter, grilled sardines, oysters, and pork belly and watermelon.

My goat's cheese was fresh and creamy, but the beetroot lacked flavour. The potted shrimps were lovely, little tender crustaceans nestling in a gently spiced aromatic butter.

To drink we had the house red, Rioja Crianza, which went well with the dishes. For the main dish we both chose rack of lamb with seasonal bubble and squeak. This was wonderful. Very tasty lamb sitting on a light, almost soufflé-like bubble and squeak, made with summery veg such as broad beans.

We were tempted to order the duck fat oven chips with roast garlic and foie gras mayonnaise, but were too full to attempt them. However, we did share a delicious moist hazelnut cake, with Valrhona chocolate sauce and passion fruit caramel.

The bill came to £76 for two, though if we'd skipped the cocktails this would have come down to a more reasonable £64. A meal for two at the Lazy Vine came to £54 for starters, mains, desserts and wine last year, so prices have increased. But the food is pretty amazing, although the menu could be more detailed with a greater choice of main courses.

Emma Midgley

September 5, 2008