FOOD REVIEW: Brasserie Blanc, Charlotte St
Brasserie Blanc is a UK based chain of 19 restaurants set up by world famous chef Raymond Blanc to bring the best of French cuisine at affordable prices. Brasserie Blanc was previously branded as ‘Le Petit Blanc’ but changed name in 2006 and has seen its success grow so much that they opened 8 new restaurants in 2012 alone, including 5 in London. The Charlotte Street branch is one of the most popular of the new restaurants, so off to the West End I went.
The décor is typically French with a terrace at the front and Revolution era décor inside with wood panels, artwork throughout (mostly featuring Mr Blanc) and a skylight that lets in lots of natural light. The menu features many of the staples of French cooking including terrine, snails, and steak tartare as well as some curve balls like stroganoff and beef tongue.
For starters I settle on the soufflé made with Maroilles cheese. The cheese was just the right consistency and was accompanied by a celery and orange salad which gave it a pleasant kick. My colleague had the hot smoked salmon with cucumber salad, which was presented beautifully and tasted just as good, with the crunch of the cucumber combining well with the soft flesh.
As a lover of duck, for main course I couldn’t resist the duck confit in a cassoulet with chorizo. Although quite difficult to get right, the duck was cooked well however I did find it bland and was disappointed to find that the china was noticeably chipped in places. My companion has a flavoursome 30 days aged Cornish 8oz sirloin steak which isn’t bad value at £19.50 including a side of fries and steak sauce.
By this point, I felt in a good frame of mind- I wasn’t hungry, nor was I stuffed. Dessert only enhanced my emotions after finishing my rhubarb sabayon. It came with a honeycomb topping which offset the bitterness of the rhubarb perfectly and I’ll go as far as saying it is one of the finest sweets I’ve had in a long time. The lemon sponge pudding was also excellent- skip dessert here at your peril!
Brasserie Blanc is a good introduction to French cuisine; however the Charlotte Street restaurant has some teething problems and is yet to find its own distinct character. Prices are slightly expensive but there is a set menu option at certain times for a very reasonable £14 for 2 courses or 3 courses for £16.45. Overall a pleasant dining experience and would recommend for anyone who wants to eat from Mr Blanc without the fancy bells and whistles of his more famous Michelin starred venues.
Brasserie Blanc, 8 Charlotte St, W1T 2LS. Nearest Tube: Goodge St
Average meal around £25 per person for 2 courses (excluding drinks). For more information, restaurant locations and bookings, visit http://www.brasserieblanc.com/