It takes a brave entrepreneur to open a business in these times. Hats off to Richard Burghardt and his wife Ashley, who have just opened D Grande, a new Tex Mex restaurant in Chiswick High Rd.
“We hadn’t signed the lease before the coronavirus emergency hit” Richard tells me, “but we still think it’s a good idea. We always had it in mind that we’d do takeaways and deliveries anyway”.
Richard and Ashley are from Dallas (hence the name of the restaurant ‘D Grande’ – ‘ big D’ in Spanish, which is what the locals call their home city). When they came to London a couple of years ago, it was not to open a restaurant, but to work for a genetic testing company and for the American firm Stitch Fix respectively. They settled in Chiswick and their kids are in primary school here.
They found they missed their go-to comfort food, as they couldn’t find good Tex-Mex anywhere in London, so they decided to open a restaurant. As you do. Eighteen months of researching recipes and suppliers, trial and testing, and they think they have come up with authentic and tasty food to offer the discerning public of Chiswick.
“We have a very good, very experience high-end chef in Jimi Porter. His wife is American and between us we did a lot of reading and played around with different recipes”.
Some ingredients they weren’t able to get here, such as Velveeta, an American processed cheese. Nothing else melts right, to dip your corn chips in, apparently, but they’ve adapted Monteray Jack cheese (a form of Cheddar he assures me) so it melts to the required drippiness to have in Queso.
Other tried and tested favourites on the menu are Fajitas, with steak, or vegetables, and guacamole, frozen Margaritas and a brisket taco popularised by a well-known restaurant in Dallas. Apart from the corn tortillas, everything is freshly made on the premises.
So far it’s going very well, they’ve been open just over a week and have been busy, attracting not just locals but ex-pats, craving Tex Mex like themselves. One woman walked the 14 mile round trip to taste their food, and gave it the thumbs up.
Tex Mex is, as the name suggests, not just Texan and not just Mexican, but the fusion which developed in the 1800s amongst Mexican immigrants. The cognoscenti will discern the taste of cumin for example, a flavour introduced by Spanish workers of Moroccan origin, as a distinctively different ingredient from those you would find in standard Mexican food.
The food sounds and looks great. They’ve opened the restaurant to the street, to serve people takeaway. General Manager Hannah Waddington is looking forward to the time when she can also invite you in to sit down.
D Grande Tex Mex restaurant
132 Chiswick High Rd
Phone: 0203 667 7257
Open Wednesday – Sunday, noon – 9.00pm for take-away. Free delivery within Chiswick coming soon.
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See also: Telephone kiosk coffee stall reopens