Number One looks after you

NUMBER ONE BAR BISTRO

1 Perrers Road, London W6 0EY (081-748 1902)

Open every day from noon to 11pm. Lunch (three courses): pounds 9.50; dinner: average

price per head pounds 15. All credit cards accepted

FIRST impressions may not be good; Number One Bar Bistro looks a little too like the set of Cheers to be called elegant, but you get used to it quickly enough. Nowadays I'd like to call it cosy. Very nice. Some genius out there sent a press release to my home address (it's the only one I've received since beginning this column, which seems odd, but I haven't taken offence). I read the whole thing very carefully because doing that was more enjoyable than working, and because the restaurant happened to be not far from where I live.

And what a discovery it turned out to be. The first time I went there (as a genuine restaurant-goer, not a reviewer - I still do that sometimes) the two of us were feeling slightly too overdrawn. So we tightened our belts and made the unusual sacrifice of not ordering a main course. We ordered a bottle of house red, four excellent first courses and a couple of espresso coffees. Exotically flavoured, fresh and delicious bread came free. We were both full, though not bloated (a rare delight for an end-of-restaurant experience), and only pounds 12 more overdrawn each than we had been before dinner began.

I remember some of what we ate that time. Number One changes its menu every week and I've never had a dud course there yet. I'm now something of a regular. But I still think the first time was the best. My companion ordered a fish soup from paradise. Actually it was fish stock, I suppose. I mean it was thin and watery. It came with shellfish and there was fresh coriander on top. It was perfect. I long for them to put it on the menu again. I ate something to do with ravioli and oysters, I think. Can't remember much more about it, except that the portion was small because it was a first course and it tasted delicious.

I've persuaded a few people to go there since I first discovered Number One at the beginning of the autumn. They all looked disappointed when they first arrived. To the left and facing you when you walk through the door is a pub bar. The establishment is divided into two rooms: one for drinking, the other for eating well. The restaurant is small; if you arrive there at eight it's usually empty. At nine it's full but not crowded. People talk in ordinary voices, there is rarely any shouting and certainly no whispering. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.

Number One is set in something estate agents call the 'Brackenbury Village', an expensive corner of Hammersmith, west London. It's quite pretty, and quite stultifyingly middle class. There's a very good deli over the road, etc, etc, and a more famous restaurant which I've yet to visit, called the Brackenbury, three minutes away. The place seems to be full of locals, by which I mean rich professionals. Some of them must work at the BBC, I think, because the TV studios are just around the corner. But if they're not BBC then they're lawyers, journalists. People like that. Call me a body fascist if you will, but the nice thing about the people who hang out at the Number One is that they all seem to be quite good- looking. They're not frumpy yuppies; they're delicate ones. Don't you know?

I'm sure that they all read the Independent on Sunday. And I think most of them talk about art galleries and that sort of thing. I dare say one or two of them also talk about babysitters. I couldn't see anybody wearing ugly clothes and nobody seemed to be showing off.

The tables are covered in brightly patterned toile ciree. I've only ever been there for dinner, when the lights are low and there are candles on the tables. Floors are uncarpeted. It may be coincidence, but I don't think I've ever seen the same waitress there twice. But she is always friendly, professional, unintrusive and deserving of a sensible tip (that's at least 10 per cent, as if you didn't know - and if you're a bore, and you demand conversation from your waitress on top of everything else, you should tip her much, much more). It's amazing how many people get away with being stingy in this area; and I think you can judge a lot from someone's character by the amount they tip their waiters. Small or no tips, unless there is a reasonable excuse, usually mean the diner is a bully. Waiters can't say anything when you refuse, but often tips make up a large proportion of their salary.

Where was I? The time I visited Number One on your behalf we didn't try so hard - I'm ashamed to admit - to keep the belts tight. We had a couple of drinks before dinner (which always pushes the price up), two first courses, two main courses, a pudding, a bottle of house white and a couple of cups of coffee. The bill was nearly double what it had been the first time I ate there. It came to pounds 47.50, which I suppose is what one would expect to pay for a bottle of wine and an excellent dinner.

The menu is always short. There was a choice of four first courses that night; I chose the elegantly presented, not at all filling but delicious leeks vinaigrette with scallops and garlic. My friend chose the elegantly presented, not at all filling but delicious salad of Parma ham, Gruyere and honey vinaigrette. I think his was slightly better. But both, his at pounds 4.50, mine at pounds 4.95, were a delight.

Battling over who has which main course is becoming a recurring theme during our dinners for this column: last time we'd been unable to reach a compromise and had both ordered the sausage and mash, but I didn't think I could get away with this kind of unprofessional behaviour twice running. There was a choice of six main courses and we both wanted the same one, although all of them were bound to be delicious. We both wanted the roast duck with plum and ginger sauce.

I'm not telling you who won, because it's none of your business. The chicken was good, served on a bed of leeks and very delicate. But whoever got the duck did better. The description on the menu is self- explanatory. It was excellent. Luckily they gave us a very generous portion and it was very rich. So we ended up sharing it, as good friends ought, and then everybody lived happily ever after.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Arts and Entertainment
Johhny Cash in 1969
musicDyess Colony, where singer grew up in Depression-era Arkansas, opens to the public
Arts and Entertainment
Army dreamers: Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tvReview: It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch
Arts and Entertainment
Umar Ahmed and Kiran Sonia Sawar in ‘My Name Is...’
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
This year's Big Brother champion Helen Wood
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Full company in Ustinov's Studio's Bad Jews
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Harari Guido photographed Kate Bush over the course of 11 years
Music
Arts and Entertainment
Reviews have not been good for Jonathan Liebesman’s take on the much loved eighties cartoon
Film

A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend

Arts and Entertainment
Untwitterably yours: Singer Morrissey has said he doesn't have a twitter account
Music

A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album

Arts and Entertainment
Full throttle: Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro in God's Pocket
film
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie Minogue is expected to return to Neighbours for thirtieth anniversary special
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be Lonely Island's second Hollywood venture following their 2007 film Hot Rod
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off contestants line-up behind Sue and Mel in the Bake Off tent
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Day-Lewis stars in the movie There Will Be Blood
music
Arts and Entertainment
Brush with greatness: the artist Norman Cornish in 1999
art
Life and Style
Stress less: relaxation techniques can help focus the mind and put problems in context
art
Arts and Entertainment

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment