Glistening Waters, or Caribbean by Thames
Brentford's finest restaurant
If you haven't been yet, go. That's it really.
Maybe that's not quite enough for a review. Glistening Waters has been in Brentford for a number of years now, despite one disastrous and temporary change of name, and has a large number of very loyal customers who travel from afar to sample the curried goat.
The restaurant is situated on Ferry Lane, in the new Ferry Quays development, just a few doors down from the Watermans Arms. You can just see the river if you're sitting down by the window and crane your neck out, but it is a very peaceful setting, with few people walking past and no sound of traffic.
It's quite a small restaurant with simple elegant decor, mixed with birthday balloons which serve to make you feel very comfortable and relaxed. Sandra offers a warm welcome which makes you feel as if you've popped round to your oldest friends for dinner rather than going out to dine. It is the only restaurant where I have been perfectly happy to eat without any other customers although it is wise to book as it can get full very easily.
As to the food, there are several fish choices, as well as meat or vegetarian for both starters and main course. All the dishes have different tastes and textures that excite the taste buds.
We had Mackerel & Green Banana Tower, a new dish, which consists of avocados, green bananas, mackerel and apple sauce which mixed the smoothness of avocados and bananas with the strong taste and texture of mackerel. The other starter (we shared all our dishes) was Plantain Rounds, fried into beautiful rings filled with Ackee (lychee like fruit) and Saltfish. Plantain looks like a large banana but is firmer, less sweet. Again there is the satisfying mix of tastes and textures, saltfish being quite strong but being blended with ackee and the slightly sweet plantain.
For our main courses we had the famous Curried Goat and the Beef Tower, another new dish. The goat is off the bone and slowly cooked so that it falls to pieces in your mouth, strongly curried but you can still taste the goat. It is presented in a filo basket which provides a nice contrast and accompanied by rice and peas (not green peas) which again has a faint sweetness to it that counteracts the spices. The Beef Tower is three layers of melt in the mouth beef, with ackee and callaloo in between the layers and a very beefy sauce. This was accompanied by roasted diced cassava, covered in thyme which balanced out the meat nicely.
We didn't need pudding, but we had ginger steamed cake which was so airy and light and just a little bit gingery that it rounded off the meal nicely. My companion was dithering between the ginger cake and the Mango meringues so her ginger cake arrived topped with mango which was a good if unplanned combination. I had Tropical Fruit Crumble which was a good crispy, crumbly crumble with sweet and slightly sour fruit very different to our usual British crumbles. Both were accompanied by custard, with ice cream as an alternative.
We had a bottle of very drinkable house red, an Italian San Marzano which brought the meal to £80 for three courses for two with a bottle, not Brentford's cheapest but very good value for the quality. Dinner could have been preceded by a rum punch or a variety of cocktails made with care. I enjoyed one on a previous visit and I don't really like cocktails.
If you are not familiar with Caribbean cuisine and unfamiliar names then this is a good opportunity to find out. Detailed explanations of recipes and ingredients are happily given and dishes are readily altered to cope with customers' allergies or other requests. The restaurant is often booked for large parties or birthdays and it is an excellent place to go in a large group and have fun, as well as great food.
If you have eaten here why not add some feedback to Glistening Waters listing in our service directory.
May 13, 2010