★★★ | Brasserie Blanc- Southbank, great for Meat but leaves vegetarians out in the cold.
Brasserie Blanc, belonging to Chef Raymond Blanc, have multiple locations across the country, their Southbank branch recently under going a refurb. The restaurant itself is easy on the eyes and feels airy thanks to the large floor space. But, both peckish and avid fans of french food, we are more interested in what’s on the menu!
The cocktail menu is rather enticing with drinks like the rose petal Martini (£8.50), coming out candy floss pink concocted out of Beefeater gin, lychee liquor, rose vermouth, fresh lemon and cranberry. Sounds good right? It was. My friend crowning it one of the best cocktails she has ever had. I went for a non-alcoholic apple & ginger fizz (£4)- generous ginger giving life to the sweet fizzy apple, so refreshing. If i had been drinking alcohol, I would have gone for the rhubarb & honey Martini. Check their website for details on £5 cocktails from 5pm.
The A la carte menu is very well put together with French classics, although i’m not entirely sure the menu is well equipped for vegetarian diners. To start, Potted Cromer Crab (£9.50), layered with avocado, guacamole, prawn butter and served with toasted pain de campagne. The texture was super smooth and creamy, herbs running through it like coriander make the dish light, and a strong taste of the sea made this a worthy start to the meal.
Also starting was Maman Blanc’s Salads (£7.50) – I do love a good legacy dish. Six different kind of salads arranged around the plate, with gorgeous bright colours. I’m not entirely sure the dish comes together as a whole but the individual elements were delicious; sharply dressed tomatoes, pickled veg much like a dry piccalilli, celeriac remoulade, cucumber & dill, potato & creme fraiche and a carrot ‘slaw. You could easily recreate this dish at home, which i may well do for a Summer soiree at some point. There was a dominant onion / garlic flavour and i could have done with a lot more seasoning.
Our eyes nearly popped out of our heads, and my jealousy set in as my friends Steak Tartare ‘Maison’ (£21.50) arrived at the table, made with free-range Cornish beef too. Everything about this dish was on point, and the presentation was particularly stunning. The silky spicy beef is then adorned in delicious trinkets like cornichons, capers, shallots, herbs, and done so with such style.
All of which made my main course even more disappointing than it already was. I was having a vegetarian day and ordered the Chickpea & Coriander Cake (£12.50) – A huuuuuge portion, which would have been great if the dish were at all nice. Two big patties, just about holding their shape together. The dish was bland and I didn’t understand the incestuous idea of the chickpea patties lying on top of a bed of chickpeas. There’s only so many chickpeas you can handle, and now I’m saying the word chickpeas a lot. See the problem here? TOO MANY CHICKPEAS. It did not agree with the aubergine puree it was served with, it was sour and pungent, almost like it was stale. Poor show considering this is the only vegetarian option on the a la carte menu for main dishes.
We shared the Pistachio Souffle (£7.50) for dessert, and were glad that we did share, as this green wobbly atomic cloud gently lands at the table. I was a bit dubious about the idea of a pistachio souffle, but the hint of chocolate in it really bring it all together. Light as you’d like, extremely sweet but then the main aftertaste is pistachio nuts. I really liked the journey of flavours this dish takes you on.
Our personable and sweet server, Marchin, was lovely to chat with and looked after us very well, it was he that suggested the souffle and we were glad he did. The restaurants location meant a lovely stroll along the river after our meal. I would return to Brasserie Blanc, but definitely as a meat eater for that tartare, and most definitely as a drinker for that rose petal Martini.
REVIEWED BY : @Lohanjordan
ADDRESS: 9 Belvedere Road, Southbank , London, SE1 8YP
TELEPHONE: 0207 202 8470
PRICE: ££££ (explained)
STAR: *** (explained)
TIPPING POLICY : http://brasserieblanc.com/restaurants/southbank/
Follow Jordan Lohan on Twitter