"Affordable food from the famous Frenchman"All In London Rating: Added Fri 08 Jun 2012 - Reviewed by Leila
Like Donatella Versaceís Versus and Stella McCartneyís range for, erm, H&M, Raymond Blancís brasseries provide an accessible way to try the famous Frenchmanís creations. Just donít go expecting haute cuisine.
Up until very recently Blancís affordable eateries had been confined to the home counties, but in 2012 London has seen branches open in or around St. Paulís, Covent Garden and Tower of London, with more planned for the Southbank, Bishopsgate, Chancery Lane and Charlotte Street.
Itís buzzing on the roof terrace opposite Covent Gardenís Royal Opera House, as Blancís promotional can-can
has clearly done the trick. Weíre hoping to dine alfresco but are told itís 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 Rosť arrives itís warm, but both niggles are soon put right.
The menu has simple, homely dishes, like beef Stroganoff, blue cheese soufflť 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 lambís 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.
Itís not quite designer, but at £75 for a meal for two itís definitely worth the gamble.
Official All In London review for Brasserie Blanc