If you love the concept of the French style cafe or brasserie with options for coffee, wine and food all day, then you’ll love Chez Maiss. Situated on the edge of the Broadway shopping centre, with a sun trap outside terrace, it’s ideally situated near the tube and buses in Hammersmith. So I was pretty excited when I was invited along to review. Read on to see what I thought:
*Full disclosure, my meal and drinks at Chez Maiss were free in return for this honest review. All opinions, as ever, remain my own!*
Chez Maiss restaurant Hammersmith
When we arrived there were several couples in the restaurant. One couple was sitting outside on the terrace enjoying the end of the bank holiday weekend. The outside space makes Chez Maiss feel like a truly continental restaurant and as it’s not directly on the road, it feels a little secluded (although good for people spotting).
As it was a little chilly by 7:30pm, my friend and I sat inside, but at one of the window tables – to take advantage of the people spotting naturally!
When we were there (bank holiday Monday evening), the restaurant was fairly empty. However before shows at the Hammersmith Apollo, the bar and restaurant get busy and during the day there is a steady flow of customers.
Our waiter Nick, got us some olives and a glass of prosecco whilst we perused the menu. The menu covers a selection of European and Middle Eastern foods, from hummus to charcuterie boards. The starters could also be used as ‘drink snacks’. I could imagine sharing a bottle of wine here whilst picking on the assiette de fromage.
To start I went for the burrata and my friend Sub had the fatayer, a traditional middle eastern topped bread or ‘mini-pizza’.
The burrata wasn’t quite ‘gooey’ enough for me. I expected it to be more creamy and oozing out when cut open. I’m not sure if this is related to the aging process, but the flavour was also more subtle than I was expecting. I think that the jam it was served with was strawberry rather than fig, due to it’s sweetness and colour. However the dried fig pieces had a lot of that gorgeous figgy flavour. The crunch of the toasted focaccia was welcome compared to the softer texture of the burrata and the chewiness of the dried fig.
Sub’s fatayer came with z’aatar, the classic spice mix and a light cheese. One was also topped with some fresh herbs and red onion to add some additional flavour. Dipping them in the tomato sauce really made it like a mini-pizza!
To be fair, I think Sub won this one. The dough for the fatayer was freshly made that morning and you could tell from the quality. Sub grew up in the Middle East eating these and so for her preference was for a little more seasoning. However for someone who isn’t such an expert as her, it tasted good to me as is! This is a perfect snack or drinking accompaniment. I think the Turkish style pizza that is on the mains section of the menu would be similar (but larger and with added beef mince).
For the main course I ordered the hake dish. It seems to be on a lot of menus I’ve seen recently!
The hake was a generous portion, perfectly cooked. The squash and sweet potato mash seemed to be mainly sweet potato – not that I’m complaining about that! It surprised me that the Hollandaise sauce was served cold, I would normally warm it up before serving if I was cooking at home. I’m not sure whether this was by design or an oversight in the kitchen. The mushroom and spinach meant that no additional sides were required with this dish. It was a generous portion and very filling.
Sub went with the lime and white wine prawn risotto. Again this was a generous portion with lots of lovely king prawns in it. Sub generously let me try one! The risotto was light and creamy, with the lime zest cutting through the creaminess, so that it was more a mouthfeel than heavy or overly rich. This was a lovely summery dish with a lot of zing. However we couldn’t finish the rice (don’t worry we ate all the prawns though).
By now we were both quite full… but in the interest of giving you lovely lot an overview of what was on offer, I had to try at least one dessert too. They didn’t have an extensive dessert menu on that day, so I picked the lemon posset (a traditional English cream based dessert) that came with pear.
The lemon posset was lovely – not as firmly set as I was expecting, but with a good lemon flavour. The poached pear was also tasty, but a little tricky to cut up in the glass serving dish. As something to share between two it was a nice way to round off the meal.
We started our meal with a glass of their 8Cento prosecco. This was lovely and appley to taste with a dry finish.
One of the key features of Chez Maiss is the Enomatic system they have. This means that you can taste a sample of wine or order by the glass, when normally such high quality wine would only be available by the bottle. This is because the machine keeps the wine at the perfect temperature and also controls the air, preventing the open wine from oxidising like it would when you open a bottle at home.
Irene, the manager, let us try several of their white wines, to find those that matched with each dish perfectly. Irene certainly knows her wines! I’m not familiar with Gruner Veltliner from Austria, but it went down well – not too acidic, but nicely balanced. A plus point is that this was also organic and a glass would be £6 from the Enomatic machine.
More familiar to me was the Albarino that I had with my hake. This Spanish white has much more mineral notes in it and acidity. In this particular wine we also got saline notes alongside the classic citrus, making it more complex and interesting. A glass is £6.50 from the Enomatic machine.
The lovely James behind the bar also sent us over a mini espresso martini to accompany our dessert:
I also saw James making other cocktails, so that’s always an option if you’re not as keen on wine as me.
I enjoyed my dinner at Chez Maiss. The staff we talked to were really knowledgeable and looked after us well. However being recently opened, it seems that the kitchen still need to find their feet on the details. Here I’m referring to the quality of the burrata (& possible strawberry jam?) and the cold Hollandaise sauce. Only little things, but tweaks that would raise Chez Maiss one step over their local competitors.
I think the food is decently priced and a good selection for the all day dining brasserie style they are aiming for. However what excites me the most is the Enomatic wines and possibility to come here for a drink and a nibble rather than just a full meal. I think this is a good addition to the local food & drink scene in Hammersmith.
Find Chez Maiss
Currently it doesn’t look like Google maps is showing the right location inside the Broadway shopping centre.
So head for the dropped pin location on the map below. Chez Maiss is opposite The Cellar bar and near to the Dragon Cat cafe and Craft Beer Co: