"Beautiful starters and desserts in a lively and modern setting"Review Rating: Reviewed by James Whiting
The bustling french bistro was the setting for an 'All In London' dinner meeting, so (at time of review) the 67th best restaurant in London (as confirmed by the 'All In One Ultimate Restaurant List') was put through its paces. The atmosphere was lively without being loud, and the open kitchen sent a real buzz about the room. Bread and a carafe of water arrived at the table promptly, although the oversight of any side plates meant quite a few crumbs before that was rectified. This was a slight pattern to the service as a whole, while pleasant and polite a few members certainly seemed a bit green.
Starters were the visual highlights of the meal. Three chunks of flame grilled mackerel, skin expertly scored, sat amongst dainty blobs of smoked cod roe, topped with micro-herbs. Opposite a swoosh of vivid green apple purée rounded off the vibrant presentation. In terms of flavour the components were distinct, fresh and complimented each other, the mackerel was perfectly cooked. The apple compote was slightly puzzling, it worked with the dish, yet was so sweet it could've been a dessert. Our resident vegetarian opted for the beetroot ravioli, which was perhaps ever so slightly undercooked, however, the dish was light and proceeded to create a smeared purple plate worthy of the Tate Modern when finished.
The vegetarian main was a true bistro sized portion of wild mushroom, spinach and Jerusalem artichoke pancake gratin. The huge black cast iron dish was filled with beige! Although tasty, the three pancakes, stuffed full, were slightly on the heavy side. The partridge was also slightly disappointing. There were no complaints regarding the breast and legs of the bird, tender and gamey. Yet, the dish seemed to be missing a component. The pieces of apple worked excellently with the partridge, dainty cauliflower florets played their role equally well. However, the choucroute was merely a bed of shredded cabbage, lacking bulk. A scoop of the mashed potato side order would have elevated, literally, the rather flat looking arrangement in both appearance and taste.
The dessert of citrus gratin was the surprise package of the meal. Nuggets of pale green pistachio crumble sat atop the baby flan dish and tempered the overall sharpness, in addition to adding just the right amount of crunch. Under the crisp sugar topping was an unctuous warm yellow citrus filling. Segments of pink grapefruit and orange appeared as if by magic, passion fruit seeds rounded off the flavour explosions delivered by each spoonful. An over-enthusiastic love of citrus on my part meant flawless is the only word left to describe that particular pudding.
Overall Bistrot Bruno Loubet met expectations. The atmosphere was lively but relaxing, and the meeting was carried out without distraction. The service could have been slightly improved, perhaps we caught a new recruit on his first day. Lastly the food delivered on flavour. An enjoyable, productive evening, and most importantly we left full.
James Whiting reviewed Bistrot Bruno Loubet on Mon 06 Feb 2012