If you love French delights with a true taste of the cultural country then Brasserie Blanc is the place for you. There are many branches dotted around London and each one endeavours to deliver a meal resembling a homecooked French dish (hypotehetically speaking- your mother is a great French cook). This comfortable space is great for an evening meal with family or friends, especially if you love a touch of authentic France.
BRASSERIE BLANC – French
Three Words: Authentic, Sincere, Comfortable
The Lowdown: Any foody worth their salt cellar will have heard of Raymond Blanc, the inimitable French chef who has become one of Britain’s favourite cooks and is owner of the double-michelin star awarded Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. In 2006 he rebranded Le Petit Blanc Brasserie in Oxford as Brasserie Blanc, and since then we’ve seen little pockets of France appearing all over jolly England, ready for those that want to indulge in the true taste of a country famous for its gastronomic delights.
In 2012 London’s Charlotte Street became another home to Brasserie Blanc, and it promises all the warmth, comfort and simple yet delicious food that these restaurants have become known for.
Location: Charlotte Street is a buzzing and lively row of eateries and watering holes in Fitzrovia. Just wandering past the glowing restaurant fronts will have you salivating and desperate for a cosy bolt-hole.
The Occasion: This place is perfect for a date night – romantic, intimate, and French is after all the language of love. It’s also ideal for this time of year – when it’s chilly outside, the indulgence of French food is perfect.
Decor: Wood panelling, low lighting from wrought-iron lamps and leather-lined booths tick all the boxes for your classic bistro. Manuscript pages framed on the walls make you think the literati could have been here figuring out who their latest doomed heroine would be, while sipping on cognac and nibbling a croque monsieur.
Atmosphere: Romantic, intimate and just refined enough to make you feel like you’re having a special night out without feeling intimidated. In the daytime it’s also the perfect place to drop in to grab a coffee and croissant, or treat yourself to a lunchtime nibble.
Culinary Concept: This is French cuisine through and through, using fresh ingredients and introducing the odd exciting twist to classic dishes.
What we tried: For starters it has to be the twin French staples of snails and steak tartar. The escargot arrived sans-shell, delicious little orbs of garlicky goodness, dressed with a vivid green herb butter that had just enough savoury edge to cushion some of the richness. The tartar arrived in a pink mound of prime meat, with the glowing egg yolk shimmering atop – one knife pierce and it was running onto the plate in liquid sunshine. Simple but selective ingredients combined to great effect.
When it came to mains, the rare steak cut like butter, and was served with a tantalising béarnaise sauce so good that the dauphinoise potatoes were almost unnecessary (but still greatly enjoyed). A dish of whole spiced gilt-head bream was sensational – huge chunks of snowy coloured fish accompanied by the aniseed tang of fennel and star anise. A chocolate soufflé to finish was fluffy heaven – sumptuous but not claggy.
For next time: The ‘Six Hour’ Beef Short-rib looks like it could be a real winner – slow cooked and served with a red wine sauce and mousseline potatoes, it’s pure autumn comfort food.
Veggie delights: The French aren’t necessarily renowned for catering to the vegetarians out there, but Brasserie Blanc has some tempting options that even carnivores might consider. Nothing beats a cheese soufflé to start, while the main of Crepe Francomptoise with mushrooms, spinach and cheese is sure to fill up your veggie dining partner.
Best of the booze: Brasserie Blanc have an exciting new addition to their fizz menu, in the form of their very own sparkling wine. The Blanc de Blancs is light, refreshing, and a great foil for the well-known Italian prosecco. Its flavour bursts with green fruit and is a perfect accompaniment to the rich cuisine.
Fun Fact: Raymond Blanc was never professionally trained – he learnt much of what he knows from his mother, and has now trained some of the top chefs in the country.
Basically: Brasserie Blanc offers the chance to try superb French food without the eye-watering price tag – along with the laidback Brasserie style that makes for a great evening. Perfect for the coming chilly weather, it’s an ideal place to hole up, order some sparkling wine, tuck into some tremendous dishes and pretend you’re tucked away in a little bistro in rural France.
8 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 2LS
020 7636 4975