It was the crowning glory of an evening at Antony Worrall Thompson's newest concern, tucked away in Holland Park. Well suited to its cosmopolitan locale, Wiz boasts a menu to make globetrotters weep. Thus my footloose friends Alice and Kate settled in with beatific smiles - helped no end by goblet-sized glasses of kir with a delicious lemon twist.
The menu is divided into seven sections - "cultures or countries" - featuring six or seven small dishes. Choose the chef's selection in each for a balanced combination, or "surf the world" by picking them individually.
We chose package deals to the "Mediterranean" and "Italy", and dabbled in the "Spice Trail" and "France", aided by a charming waiter with a flamenco click to his heels. Feeling thoroughly at home, we chilled out with a pinot grigio, and caught up on our travelling tales.
Dishes arrive as and when they are ready, in a steady stream of taste sensations that each evoke memories of sunnier climes. Alice dipped into a creamy dhal and held forth on India; baked reblochon cheese with tart apple jelly set Kate off on a French reminiscence; while sweet, succulent pumpkin ravioli with sage butter transported me to Italy. Also memorable were the dark, richly intense balsamic chicken livers, a melting seared tuna in a garlic, chilli and soy sauce, and Moroccan carrot rolls that combined comforting stodge with a polenta crunch. Other dishes were blander, but all contributed to a spectacularly pretty spread: orangey hummus, thickets of red chard, couscous studded with bright vegetables, a bulging chicken filo pie... Starved of each other's company for several weeks, we grazed happily through the menu, juggling holiday soundbites with forkfuls of food.
The wrought-iron chairs bore up well under the increasing strain, while tapestry seat cushions, in warm russets and yellows, helped mellow us after our main-course feeding frenzy. Perhaps a little too much: any remnants of restraint slithered away with the dessert menu. Cinnamon parfait was a creamy antidote to the intense flavour of dark poached pears; a heavenly passion-fruit creme lurked beneath a thin, brittle brulee crust. They were a solid, familiar finale to an international feast.
Culture shock assuaged, we rolled out into the leafy, moonlit street, happy to be home after a marvellous evening jetsetting in the comfort of our own backyard.
Wiz, 123a Clarendon Road, London W11 (0171-229 1500) pounds 12-18 a head without wine
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