The Summerhouse 22

60 Blomfield Road, Little Venice , London, W9 2PD

020 7286 6752

Visit The Summerhouse

13 reviews

42 Cafes Maida Vale

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SquareMeal Review of The Summerhouse

Don’t be fooled by the seasonal moniker: The Summerhouse is now open right through the year – by popular demand. Dreamily located by the banks of Little Venice, just a skip from its sibling The Waterway, this breezy venue offers canal-side dining “with a Cape Cod influence” and sunny echoes of a Long Island beach retreat. Seafood is the main culinary event, with New England clam chowder and popcorn shrimps alongside seared scallops with truffled leeks and pancetta crisps, Canadian lobster with potato salad or beer-battered haddock and chips. Salads, mezze and steaks also get an airing, along with some “outstanding” desserts – perhaps pear and almond tart or spiced rice pudding with caramelised bananas. Drinks include international wines and seasonal refreshers such as River Cruise (Grey Goose vodka, Southern Comfort, amaretto, orange juice and grenadine). The Summerhouse has its own moorings, if you fancy turning up by boat.

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The Summerhouse is recommended for

Buzzy | Dates | Group Dining 8 Plus | Romantic | Special Occasions Under 40S | Brunch | Outside Seating | Waterside

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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Warwick Avenue Tube Station 188m

Royal Oak Station 562m

Address

Address: 60 Blomfield Road, Little Venice , London W9 2PD

Area: Maida Vale

Opening times

Mon-Fri 12N-3.30pm 6-10.30pm Sat-Sun 10am-4.30pm 5.30-10.30pm (Sun -10pm)

Nearby Landmarks

Canal Cafe Theatre 191m

Trinity Arts Centre 563m

Details

Telephone: 020 7286 6752

Website:

Cuisine: Cafes

6.8

Food & Drink: 7.7

Service: 5.8

Atmosphere: 7.8

Value: 6.3

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 26 July 2017

The Summerhouse has become a much-loved Little Venice/Maida Vale institution, busy all year despite its name, and an undoubted improvement on its predecessor, The Boat House. The main attraction here is the bucolic view of the Grand Union, its passing barges and waterfowl. On a sunny summer’s evening, it was a perfect place to wind down and relax, although visits here in winter also bring that comforting feeling of being snug and sheltered from the elements outside. The angle at the Summerhouse is – perhaps unsurprisingly – fish, with the restaurant seeking in some ways to model itself on a Long Island venue (clam chowder is available). Starters range from £6-12 and mains from £17-30, so not obviously cheap, but with better-value options available for the more price conscious. Beyond the piscine, there are meat and vegetarian selections too. I began with Cornish crab and asparagus presented in a tomato shell and decorated with pea shoots. Both aesthetically and taste-wise the dish pleased. My dining comrade was somewhat more disappointed with his ‘popcorn shrimp’, which basically comprised deep-fried battered fish substance and a little pot of sweet chilli sauce, perhaps more reminiscent of an Aldi frozen offering than what one might in a nice restaurant. There were no complaints from either of us, however about the mains: a whole lemon sole for me and fishcakes for my comrade. The former was tender and flavoursome and paired well with hazelnut and tarragon mash as well as samphire; the latter showed a great balance between fish and potato in the cakes. We paired the meal with a lovely bottle of rose from the Provence, chosen from a reasonably innovative list. While generally a very enjoyable experience, the Summerhouse could do with working on its service: our server ignored my question about whether they had a dry sherry on the list; our dishes were brought and cleared with almost no ceremony, and my still-full wine glass whisked away at the meal’s end before it was finished. These niggles won’t stop the crowds coming, so best to book and enjoy, whatever the time of the year.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 0.0

Jill H. 07 July 2013

Glorified fish and chips restaurant. Trainees servicing confirmed by management. Dismissive, poor service and will never return again! It relies on a very gorgeous canal side setting and that is what you pay dearly for.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 1.0

Jill H. 07 July 2013

Food is glorified fish and chip shop standard. Annoying seating policy, had booked canal side table and called to re confirm to arrive and be told it's first come first served. We were plonked in the middle at the back and asked to move one table over to end seat and before we even got to order drinks we were told we will probably have to move when it gets busier. Food is ok, Seashells fish and chip shop in Lisson Grove far better, tables by canal came vacant and stayed vacant for most of our stay. Gave myself neck ache with all the twisting around I had to do to get service for starters, drinks, mains and dessert. Very inexperienced staff and when complained I was informed they had trainees working. The Manager is very dismissive but did offer my son a strawberry non alcoholic cocktail which I appreciated, until I saw it on the bill for £5. The only thing going for this place is the lovely canal side setting and it is that for which you pay dearly. It is so overpriced, average fish and chip shop standard and dire service.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

WSN silver reviewer 12 December 2012

Having had to do a few errands in St Johns Wood and then settle down for lunch in this delightful part of Little Venice, certainly makes London seem the best of all worlds especially on a surprisingly sunny November's day. This very same location, so many years ago was in its previous and less salubrious form known as Jason's, and so it was quite a revelation to step into a bright and inspiring canal-side venue which reminds one more of San Francisco's Fishermans's wharf or other. The decor at Summerhouse is ubiquitous with light wood and sea-faring trinkets and memorabilia, but not so much as to be overwhelming as just to bring enough interest and delight into what seemed to be the perfect waterside venue. There are rows of tables for two which are right by the canal whilst another part centres around an airier atrium-like area with bench seating to one side. In keeping with a light lunch we had soup and mussels which were perfectly delivered, both the food and service, which incidentally was suitably unhurried for such a venue. A glass of red wine seemed to go rather well as the sunshine shone through much of the restaurant, making if feel a million miles away from any of the London bustle. Afterwards, we strolled back to Maida Vale before eventually returning to more errands in St Johns Wood. Overall a definite one to revisit as a regular whenever one has the time to lunch in this delightful neighbourhood.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Justin G. 04 October 2012

We found the Summerhouse earlier in 2012 wanting a change from some of our regular haunts and have been regulars ever since. The overall ambiance we enjoy night or day, the nautical theme is great on a sunny day, but can be equally interesting on a dark evening if sitting on the terraced area, you may even feel like you are on a boat. We have taken many of our overseas friends here as well and they have been impressed too by this new find. The food is consistently very good and the quantity generous, but do save room for the Banoffee Pie, it's the best of several pudding choices. We haven't fully explored the complete wine list but it has good variety and pricing. Service is consistently very good in our experience here. Being located by the canal, it also provides access to a pleasant walk after eating. Finally the best news is that the Summerhouse is now open all year round.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Paul D. 29 August 2012

I stumbled upon the Summerhouse while walking around Little Venice with my sister-in-law and her two children before an afternoon event. Saturday lunchtime (25 August) and the place was about half full. We were seated immediately at a table by the window overlooking the road, which suited us very well. The staff were extremely polite and welcoming, despite that arriving with a 9 and 15 year old may have put some off. Henry was given a children's menu, a colouring sheet and a jug of crayons, while the rest of us were given the adult menus and wine list to peruse. The menu choice was limited, but still very interesting and as a vegetarian, I had more than one choice, which is not always the case. Our drinks order, then food order were taken promptly, without us feeling rushed. It was then that we could sit back and take in the lovely ambiance of the place. We remarked that it really did feel as though we were abroad and not a 10 minute walk from Paddington Station. Decor is light, airy and nautical without being twee or cheesy. When the food arrived, we were surprised by the portion sizes as they were much bigger than expected. Two large salads, one fish and chips and chicken gougons left us feeling full, but with the interesting offerings on the dessert menu, we had to order three of those too. Eton Mess, lemon tart with fresh raspberries and a chocolate mousse with pistachio cream were all delicious and plates were cleared. The only part that took longer than needed, was getting the bill. Meercat-like, I had stretched upwards several times to get anyone to notice we were finished, but it was not until the barman saw me that the bill was brought over. It was a delicious meal in lovely surroundings with good service. For a suburb-dwelling west Londoner, I found the price rather high, especially as we had not ordered alcoholic drinks, but this is a well-to-do central London location. I also do not like service being added, even if it is optional, however, I felt that we were treated extremely well and did not ask for any of it to be removed from the bill. I would definitely recommend the Summerhouse and am very glad we came across it by chance.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

Lewis C. 25 March 2012

A stunning venue on a sunny afternoon spoiled by incompetent management. Table for 4 had booked at 1.30 for Sunday lunch. Left standing around until 1.55. Asked for water with slices of lime and a filter coffee with milk on the side. The water and coffee arrived; the lime and milk didn't and had to be reordered. There is no bread unless one has pita bread which is clearly ony purchased to accompany a mezze for 2 (which couln't be ordered for 3). The two fish pies were short on fish and long on potato and were only part eaten. The waiter asked if they were ok and told that there was a disproportionate amount of potato to fish (1 prawn and 2 pieces of salmon). The sea bass was delicious but (1) undercooked and (2) tepid. The manager appeared. What might have been an apology was an explanation that the fish portion is standard; we had been given extra potato. We smiled politely. The man was clearly an idiot. Eventually a waiter took orders for deserts. Shortly before 4, the manager asked if we could vacate the table as it was needed for other diners. By way of apology, the two cups of tea and one cup of coffee were knocked off the price. For the first time in a very long time 4 “foodies” agreed unanimously not to pay the “optional” service tip which had been added to the bill.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Noreen C. bronze reviewer 14 August 2011

We visited The Summerhouse for Sunday lunch today, our first visit since last summer. Good news for Richard E… Things may have greatly improved since his last visit. We were almost put off from going, but decided we would check it out for ourselves. A lovely warm afternoon, we booked a late table and decided on reading other reviews, not to get too hung up on a waterfront table. We had a friendly welcome from a vaguely familiar looking maitre d', and were shown to a table inside, which actually turned out to be a good spot, as the afternoon sunshine gave a lovely glow to the restaurant, and it was much nicer looking out, than the times we have sat at a waterfront table looking in. So that's my first tip. Don't fret over sitting at a water front table. More good news; the food is still of a very high standard, three of us were dining, two shared the meze of hummus, taramasalata, tzatziki, halloumi, olives and pitta bread, my husband had prawn cocktail all of which were fresh and tasted fab. To follow we all chose differently one had fishcakes with poached egg and hollandaise on a bed of spinach, one had fillet of sea bream, and finally, the most amazing tagliatelle with prawns, chilli and garlic. I can honestly say the food we ate was really good, well cooked, well presented and pretty much to the same high standard we remembered. The service was efficient, attentive and we were spared any napkin waving. Towards the end of our lunch we still hadn't worked out why the maitre d' looked familiar and asked him, it turns out he arrived just a couple months ago, and we recognised him from Worral Thompsons' restaurant Notting Grill. If the service we received was down to him, then I would say The Summerhouse is in a safe pair of hands, and Richard should give it another go, particularly as he liked it so much before. Perhaps they were going through some changes at the time he visited. And the final bit of good news for Claire W, they hope to stay open this winter.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Richard E. platinum reviewer 31 May 2011

May 2011 It is always difficult returning to a favoured restaurant to find it changed. I went to the Summerhouse a couple of times last year are really liked its relaxed atmosphere and laid back nosh, as you can see from the review below. How times have changed. I went again on a Bank Holiday Monday. We had a late booking, but arrived a bit early. The place was heaving. Nonetheless, we were seated straight away. I had asked, when booking, if we could get a waterside table, but was told that there was no booking for this, just turn up and see if you can get one. There were none free, but about 10 minutes after we sat down, a table at the front did come free, so I asked if we could take it. Alas no, others had bagged it. Fair enough, but why then 20 minutes later when we left, was it still empty? Had it been booked? And yes, we lasted only 30 minutes here. I cannot tell you what the food was like this time, nor what the drink tasted of (not even the tap water) for we were ignored totally for 30 minutes. Not one single waiter (and there were many) found their way to our table. I have never considered waiving my napkin, Michael Winner like to get attention but, after half-a-bleedin’-hour of sitting there watching the surgically enhanced breasts at the next door table carefully take all the batter from her fish, eat the fish and leave the batter and chips, I now know why he does it. I know I could have said something, but surely I shouldn’t need to? Anyway, when we heard the table behind us moan to the waiter about the 45 minute wait to get their starter, we just knew that it wasn’t going to happen. 30 minutes later we were sitting at the counter in Polpo supping on a Bellini. This is what I said a year ago about Polpo: www.squaremeal.co.uk/review/Polpo/94079. Unlike the Summerhouse, a second visit a year later only underlines just how superb the place is. ps as I cannot do a second, separate review with a new set of scoring, I have left the scores from last August about the food and value for money, and amended only those that I actually experienced this time, averaging out the overall and updating service to where it currently lies August 2010 I am not sure that I fully understand what a “pop-up” restaurant is. Or why. The name “The Summerhouse by the Waterway” and the address “opposite 60 Blomfield Road” hint that this is a transient establishment. Like Selfridges' pop-up restaurant last summer, which was housed in a tent on the roof (a tent of Gerry Cottell proportions rather than boy scout), however, it would be hard to say that the Summerhouse is anything other than a permanent establishment. Set in a leafy corner of Maida Vale, near Warwick Avenue tube station, this is a brick built, well; building. Ok, it has a clear plastic covered terrace directly on the Grand Union Canal, but it is has not just popped up, nor will it so easily just pop-off. Yes, with the plastic sheeting down, you can see why this might not be so alluring in the winter, but then the Dutch have no trouble with plastic covered terraces on the Amsterdam canals throught the winter, and this year, with the canal frozen over, it would have been a nice change from sitting in front of a fake fire in some anodyne gastro-pub. Nontheless, we went on a beautiful sunny lunchtime, with the sun reflecting off the tesco bags as they drfted along, being idly pecked at by the coots that hang out under the terrace, clearly looking for their share of the food on offer. Unlike it's sister (or mother?) restaurant just down the road, the Waterway, there is nothing here between the terrace and the canal so, other than looking over the council estate, on a sunny day you could almost be on the Canal St Martin. Almost. On such days you can see why it is so difficult to get a reservation here at the weekend. Mid-week though, it wasn't too difficult and the place was only half full; various chapters of the local branch of the ladies-what-lunch brigade were in, all braying teeth, dyed black roots and leggings. Leggings? Don't these people look in the mirror? Yes, they were trendy once, but nobody out of their teens looks good in them. The food on offer is standard, no frills fish, with a single vegetarian and a single meat option (steak, of course). We started with perfectly fine squid with a light, but still pleasent, tartare sauce; crispy on the outside, just the right side of chewy on the inside (the squid that is, not the sauce). The main course of fish and chips that we both had was also lovely; firm fish, crunchy batter, good chips. The fact that my companion had ordered the fish pie was a minor point, as the service was so friendly that it was easy to overlook this minor error. Starter prices hover around the £7/8 mark and the mains (other than the whole sea bass) are in their mid- to late-teens. The wine list too is short and functional, some good prices but £71 for a rose? Please. I know that Domaine d'Ott is uber-trendy, but it is an awfully big ask, even for the self styled “finest rose in the world”. A great place for a lazy Sunday lunch or, as in our case, a mid-week TBL, given that one of us was between jobs and the other was flying off that evening, so was technically on his way to Heathrow.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Clare W. 13 January 2011

I am sad that The Summerhouse has closed for winter as this was my no 1 restaurant up until October. The food is outstanding and the atmosphere next to the canal reminds me of my home in Amsterdam. I hope that it does not change too much when it reopens this summer.