Monday, 12 April 2010

Bistrot Bruno Loubet

Zzz

Returning to London on a balmy April evening was very special, particularly as Cowie was able to join me for dinner at my hotel’s much hyped new restaurant, Bistrot Bruno Loubet. Many words have been written about Bruno Loubet’s return from gastronomic exile in Australia so I shan’t write about the subject. Especially as I am not geeky enough to have heard of him until very recently.

I hardly ever spend much time writing about the staff we encounter in restaurants apart from when we almost needed gas masks because of our waiter’s smelly pits in Belgos and the disastrous service at The Albany. But Bistrot Bruno Loubet deserves enormous amounts of praise for the front of house and for our waiter who was affectionately known as “The Chicken” by his colleagues. Between the two of them, they made us feel like the most important people in the room and took great pride in recommending their favourite dishes with the sort of enthusiasm that you know is genuinely because they love the food.

I also very rarely write about the design of restaurants, mainly because I am utterly unqualified to do so and partly because I normally get too excited about the food and blast on in. I really enjoyed the aesthetic experience of the restaurant. From the stylish royal blue and gold typography to the abundance of cool lamps, to the integration of the objets d’art into the menu, to the soft, textured leather wine list, the experience was thoughtfully composed. The only irritation was the way the lighting resulted in me eating in my own shadow. Maybe it’s just a quirk I’ve got, but it’s very offputting.

The menu here is the kind that makes you consider bulimia and wish you were wearing expandable trousers. Cowie and I negotiated for around quarter of an hour before deciding what to scoff.

Skate terrine

Cowie’s skate terrine with Sauce gribiche was the sort of clean, bold and refreshing starter that such a fine evening warranted. It’s not a dish I’ve seen before but is one that’d I’d love to try again.

Snails nad meatballs

My snails with meatballs and mushroom mousse was as impressive as it sounds weird. The snails and meatballs made exceptionally good bedfellows. And the red wine sauce they were swimming in couldn’t have been any more French if it had cheated on its wife whilst surrendering to a baguette.

Salmon confit

Cowie’s salmon confit was soft, slippery and quiveringly moreish. The juj of salad that came with it tasted not only of spring but also of Cowie’s platonic form of side dish.

Hare royale

My hare royale was like Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries. It boomed with baroque flavour and rumbled with bass notes of rich meat. Lumps of foie gras studded the centre. Shards of pork belly jostled for position with the lumps of tough hare. And all was drenched under more heavy red wine sauce. Beneath lay some sweet pumpkin puree. And on top perched an undercooked ravioli containing an unknown filling. Whilst I’ve been critical about some of it’s technical flaws, it wasn’t half tasty. I'd just love to know what it’s like when it’s perfect.

By this point I felt like an inbox that’s reached it’s limit that keeps issuing quota warnings whenever you get a fresh email. So the only solution was to purge ourselves with a trio of ices. Raspberry sorbet was good, but was too deep, whilst rose water ice cream was perfect. But the passion fruit sorbet was far too sharp and needed an extra beehive of honey to counteract the acid. I wish I’d had space to try their Valrhona chocolate tart instead. Or some of their salted butter ice cream.

Whilst our meal wasn't utterly perfect, it was still very good and I’d love to return to test out more of the menu, especially some of the lighter dishes in the summer time, such as quail and pigeon. And also to indulge in their desserts. To appropriate the words of David Ogilvy, “advertising and PR can’t sell a bad product twice”, so it’s great that the hype around Bruno Loubet is well founded. It’s a great restaurant that fits the current trend towards nostalgia that we all need in a time of uncertainty and I look forward to dining here again.

P.S. When I checked in for breakfast I was told I had become the mayor of Bistrot Bruno Loubet on Foursqaure! Does that mean I get free champagne?

Other opinions:

The Guardian didn't like the hare dish
Evening Standard
Dos Hermanos
The Independent
Douglas was disappointed
Tom Eats Jen Cooks on Breakfast

Bistrot Bruno Loubet on Urbanspoon

14 comments:

Gourmet Chick said...

Sounds delicious - Greedy Diva just posted on this today as well (she even had some of the same dishes - must be the place to go at the moment

mathildescuisine said...

I can't wait to go try what is supposed to be the next place to go for French cuisine ... Very much looking forward to it

Helen said...

Salted butter ice cream! Oh my! That skate terrine looks very interesting indeed, I'd like to try something like that myself.

Paunchos said...

@Gourmet Chick - I guess it is quite a hot place to go right now. We saw Kate Spicer there too.

@mathildescuisine - You'll enjoy it.

@Helen - Skate terrine was probably the best thing we had. Really very good. Big shame we never had the salted butter ice cream. Maybe you can make some and sent it over to me in Sweden?

Greedy Diva said...

I did just post something on this today - snap! I really liked BBL and look forward to returning to sample some more of the bold and the beautiful.

sheabynature said...

Very, very yammy!

Jonathan said...

@Greedy Diva - Agree. It was delicious. And I'm looking forward to another meal here.

@Sheabynature - Thanks.

Douglas Blyde said...

Thanks for the nod.

Erin said...

Hi!

I'm the Community Manager for Ruba (www.ruba.com), a highly visual and social travel site that launched last year.

I'm writing to you because we just launched a new Travel Q&A feature in which travelers can as questions to locals in great destinations around the world. Since you have such a great blog about London, we figured you'd be an awesome London Expert for the Ruba community! Would you be interested in joining our initial beta group of experts? You can participate as much or as little as you'd like and you'll have the opportunity to provide us with your valuable feedback and ideas as we launch and refine the feature.

If you're interested, let me know and we can get you signed up!

Happy travels,
Erin

--
Erin Kiskis
Community Manager , Ruba
erin(at)ruba.com

Jonathan said...

@Douglas - Not a problem Sir.

@Erin - Sounds interesting. But more so from a Sweden perspective than London perhaps. Email me at paunchos@googlemail.com

crib said...

All the dishes look so delicious! I love it! I can't wait to go there in that place.

Paunchos said...

@crib - It was a super meal. You'll love it.

Dan said...

Interesting review Browners, I have to visit Bistro Bruno Loubet soon. I popped my head in the door the other week to grab a menu, and it certainly looks the part. By the way - salted butter caramel ice-cream...I made some yesterday, and it's frigging incredible! Will be up on my blog soon.

Paunchos said...

@Dan - Good man. I read that you were making salted butter ice cream and got pretty excited. Looking forward to reading about it and annoyed we didn't get a chance to try it at BLB.

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