"Affordable food from the famous Frenchman"All In London Rating
: Added Fri 08 Jun 2012 - Reviewed by Leila
Like Donatella Versace’s Versus and Stella McCartney’s range for, erm, H&M, Raymond Blanc’s brasseries provide an accessible way to try the famous Frenchman’s creations. Just don’t go expecting haute cuisine.
Up until very recently Blanc’s affordable eateries had been confined to the home counties, but in 2012 London has seen branches open in or around St. Paul’s, Covent Garden and Tower of London, with more planned for the Southbank, Bishopsgate, Chancery Lane and Charlotte Street.
It’s buzzing on the roof terrace opposite Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House, as Blanc’s promotional can-can has clearly done the trick. We’re hoping to dine alfresco but are told it’s closed, and unfortunately there is a problem with the air-con inside. This is very much a newly-opened restaurant - the wine list is missing most of its pages, and when our bottle of Rosé arrives it’s warm, but both niggles are soon put right.
The menu has simple, homely dishes, like beef Stroganoff, blue cheese soufflé and mushroom-stuffed corn fed chicken. The steak tartare suffers from overzealous dollops of tabasco in places, a pity as the hand minced beef topped with raw egg yolk is really quite nice. Rather unexpectedly, the avocado, tomato and Greek yoghurt salad turns out to be the better starter, with the avo mashed to a creamy consistency and set, pudding-like, in the centre of the plate, topped with yoghurt and sprinkled with paprika. Chopped tomato and rocket in a balsamic dressing perks it up further.
We like the lamb’s liver, left a little rare in the middle, with a slightly sweet sherry vinegar cutting through its strong flavour; also good is the smoked haddock flan, surprisingly light as the chunks of fish and leeks do all the talking, the only let-down is a side salad of limp-looking lettuce leaves.
The selection of cheeses is exquisite: smooth, semi-firm Tomme Crayeuse, slightly tangy Shropshire Blue, intensely whiffy, super-soft St. Nectaire, and robust, thick-rinded Soumaintrain are delicious sampled one after the other, several times over. Palates suitably cleansed we try the light and foamy rhubarb sabayon, with the great combo of chunks of sour rhubarb and sweet crunchy honeycomb.
It’s not quite designer, but at £75 for a meal for two it’s definitely worth the gamble.
Official All In London review for Brasserie Blanc