Brasserie Blanc – French country cuisine in the heart of London
Raymond Blanc is probably one of the most well known French chefs here in the UK with his various tv shows, books, and his Michelin starred restaurant in the English countryside. Less well known may be his string of affordable French restaurants around the UK that aim to serve up French country classic dishes. These affordable restaurants are Brasserie Blanc and there are a few scattered around central London. I was invited to the Charlotte Street location to sample their lunchtime menu.
The restaurant is very welcoming, reminiscent of a French country house decorated in blues and whites, highlighted by the sunlight which streams in through the sunroof in the back of the restaurant. The food is ‘French country’, food that Raymond grew up eating at his mother’s table.
The menu is stuffed full of French classics such as Moules Marineries (£6.90), Escargot(£7.40)and mature Cheddar Cheese Souffle (£6.50). I opted for the Escargot and was not disappointed, garlicky but not chewy, they were served up in a hot skillet – I was warned to be careful around the skillet as I risked getting burned if not. I rarely have escargot unless I’m in France but these were delicious! Served with plenty of crusty French baguette slices, I was ready to order another round but thought better of it as my main had already been ordered.
The mains include classics such as Beef Bourgignon (£16.50), Moules Frites (£13.90), and Steak Tartare Maison(£19.90). I was tempted by the Steak Tartare but opted for the Roast Barbary Duck with Citrus Sauce (£18.50), comprised of both duck breast and a confit of leg, it was the perfect combination of falling off the bone confit and rare duck breast – just the way I like it.
All of this we washed down with the wine of the month, a delightful Bordeaux Superiore for only £25 a bottle – a delightful wine to have with this classic cuisine.
If you are a die hard carnivore, the restaurant also offers 30-day dry-aged steaks with a choice of sauces to accompany them.
Of course we had to have dessert and I opted for the Chocolate and Almond Torte served with Creme Anglais (£5.50) what can I say besides, I loved this! It had just the right balance of sweet and dark chocolate and the creme anglais only served to highlight the delectability of the cake. A very satisfying way to end the meal. For those of you with less of a sweet tooth, there is a selection of cheeses available from Eric Chariaux of the Premier Cheese Company.
If you’re in a hurry or fancy a smaller meal, Brasserie Blanc also offers a Prixe Fix Menu Monday through Saturday until 6:30. Here you have a choice of starter and main for £9.95 with the option of adding an additional starter or dessert for £3.50.