Image above: Steve Novak and the offending sign
In the middle of July a sign appeared on the wall of a premises in Chiswick being fitted out by builders. It read ‘Weatherspoons Chiswick opening soon’ Smiley face.
Owner of the new establishment Steve Novak told The Chiswick Calendar: “within an hour I had an email from a local councillor’.
Cllr Joanna Biddolph had written to him wanting to know the meaning of it. Local residents had ‘noticed’ the sign. The builder, who was just having a laugh, duly took it down.
‘I think the builders may be having a joke at my expense’ Steve wrote back.
Steve is not opening a Weatherspoons, but the latest in the family of his highly successful bar-restaurants, on the site which Foxlow’s occupied and before it, Sam’s Brasserie, in Barley Mow Passage. It almost doesn’t matter what the food’s like – an establishment with a sense of humour! Welcome to Chiswick! It’s great to see the site occupied again too, after standing empty for so long.
As it happens, the food looks good. We haven’t eaten there yet but will report back in due course. The menu offers sharing plates and pub standards.
Image above: Food and drink at Betty bar-restaurant
The Brunch menu has a range of full breakfasts (English, veggie and vegan), pancakes with bacon or bananas; rostis (English, Italian or Spanish), croissants, pastries, warm banana bread, avocado on toast, smoothie bowls and eggs virtually any way you might want them. They also offer breakfast coaktails – Bloody Mary, Bloody Maria, Expresso Martini, Mimosa and Aperol Spritz. It definitely sounds like a place to go for a hair of the dog.
See the full Brunch menu here: Brunch menu
The Main menu has kebabs, steaks, ribs and burgers (including veggie) and some interesting small plates. Their take on mac & cheese is ‘braised oxtail, Gruyère & parmesan crumble’. They also offer Tuna Tatare ‘Cornish crab, avocado, pistachio’, Baked Camembert, Grilled Octopus and Pork belly ‘Harissa caramel sesame seeds & citrus aioli’ amongst others.
See the full Main menu here: Main menu
On Sundays they offer the traditional range of roasts with duck fat roast potatoes, creamed leeks, Savoy cabbage, honey roast parsnips, Yorkshire pudding (ex vegan) & bone marrow gravy. Two options of Veggie pies – butternut squash, pine nuts & goats cheese and butternut squash, spinach, pine nuts and sauteed onions.
See the full Sunday menu here: Sunday menu
Images above: Betty, Steve’s grandmother, after whom the restaurant is called
Betty – joining the family
To say Steve owns a ‘family’ of restaurants is literally true. ‘Betty’ is called after his late grandmother, an ‘old school northerner’, a hairdresser from Stockport. Heidi’s wine bar in Balham is called after his daughter and Hannah in Lavender Hill after his wife. He also has the Cattle Grid in Windsor, The Earlsfield in Earslfield and the Charlotte in Southwark.
A quick look at the reviews tells me what he offers is appreciated.
The Cattle Grid – ‘Just had a wonderful lunch here at the Cattle Grid. The side orders are all freshly made on site. It all tastes amazing. Top quality meat which you would pay double for in most other restaurants’. Tripadviser.
Heidi – ‘This place is fab. Really great wines have been chosen’. Tripadvisor
Hannah – ‘Fantastic food, great service, lovely venue’. Tripadvisor
Steve learned the trade as a beer rep for Courage and ran his first pub, the Kings Arms by Tower Bridge, as an independent. The financial crash of 2008 put paid to that, but he didn’t give up on owning his own bar-restaurants.
Image above: Betty oysters, wine dispenser and bar
The reviews bode well. Someone else mentioned they appreciated the self service drinks, which will also be a feature at Betty. You can self select 60 wines by the glass, in different size glasses. You get the equivalent of an Oyster card to use and top it up to top up your glass.
Club Card offer – 20% off wine
Steve would like to offer Chiswick Calendar Club Card holders 20% off wine from this marvellous machine. It may not be served with a smile by a waiter with his thumb in the base of the bottle and a napkin over his arm, but it tastes the same. You get to have a proper look at the options too. This offer is good till the end of September.
Other Betty offers
Other Betty offers include:
Oyster Tuesday – £1 Oysters available from 12.00 pm-10.00 pm
Champagne Happy Hour – £6.66 for a glass of champagne or any of the champagne cocktails. All day, every day.
As I chatted to Steve, while builders were still putting the finishing touches, he showed me the wallpapers by Timorous Beasties, a nod to the building’s heritage as a Sandersons wallpaper factory. He showed me the French art house art work by ibride and the lighting by Timothy Oulton.
Not very Weatherspoons at all.
Betty is now open and awaiting your custom.
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See also: Chiswick Book Festival 2021
See also: Artists At Home, 17-19 September
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