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Friday 11 February 2011

London Restaurant Review - Bistrot Bruno Loubet

In celebration of Chocolate Week and the launch of Green & Black's new cookbook "G&B's Ultimate Chocolate Recipes" (deserving of an entirely separate review which will follow), the good people of Green & Blacks invited a bunch of food bloggers to Bistrot Bruno Loubet and I was luckily among them.

Housed at the Zetter Hotel on Clerkenwell Road, Bistrot Bruno Loubet opened in early 2010 to glowing reviews. Bruno's culinary experience is daunting - arriving in Britain in 1982 to work for Pierre Koffmann, he was awarded the 1985 Good Food Guide's Young Chef of the Year, joining Raymond Blanc soon after as Head Chef at the Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. He worked at various other establishments including the Four Seasons (earning a Michelin Star within a year), and opened his own restaurants Bistro Bruno in 1993 and L'Odeon in 1995. After eight years in Australia, Bruno Loubet returned to London in 2009.
His new Clerkenwell venture is a charming and unpretentious restaurant with large glass windows allowing plenty of natural light, retro wooden chairs and white table cloths which give a casual but elegant feel to the place.
The menu is predominantly French but with some interesting North African and Mediterranean touches. Starters are priced between £6.50 and £8.50 while mains  start from £16.50 up to £20.To begin, I had "Mauricette Snails and Meatballs, Royale de Champignons Sauvages" @ £8.50. This was a delicious dish with a rich tomato sauce with veal meatballs, lovely and plump escargot smothered in garlic butter, and a custard-like mousse of wild mushrooms.

Another starter I tasted was the "Guinea Fowl Boudin Blanc on Leek Fondue and Chervil Sauce" @ £7.50 - the game was delicate but flavoursome in this white sausage and combined well with the rich leek fondue.

For my main course, I opted for "Quail and Pistachio Dodine with Spinach and Egg Yolk Raviolo" @ £17. The quail was tender and boneless, and stuffed with sausage meat and pistachio nuts. It sat on a bed of the smoothest potato mash and meat jus. The oozing yolk from the raviolo was a delightful surprise in this magnificent dish.

Some of the other intriguing dishes (which I did not try but other food bloggers did) are pictured below. The "Stuffed Rabbit with Tomatoes, Mange-tout and Leeks"  @ £17 looked particularly good.

For dessert I had a "Selection of Cheeses, Walnut Bread and Grapes" @ £3.25. These were delicious and included a Gruyere, a blue variety, two heavenly soft and creamy French cheeses and a goats cheese presented as an ice cream ball.

Other lovely desserts much enjoyed by my fellow diners are pictured below.

The wine list was comprehensive and in my opinion reasonably priced. Of the two wines we tried, the "2009 Felines Jourdan, Picpoul de Pinet" from the Languedoc was priced at £22 while the "2008 Entraygues le Fel" cost @ £27. The latter was an easy drinking red wine with plenty of red fruit character (red cherries) from the South West of France (Fer Servadou, a rather unusual French grape is the dominant varietal in this wine).

We also had the pleasure of meeting Micah Carr-Hill, the Head of Taste, and Editor of the new Green & Black's Ultimate Chocolate Recipe Cookbook who dined with us, and the lovely Gail Haslam, G&B's Social Media Guru by day, food blogger extraordinaire by night (of One Million Goldstars fame) who kindly invited me and the others along.

Cost: The London Foodie was a guest of Green & Black's at Bistrot Bruno Loubet. I estimate that a 3-course meal would cost around £35 excluding drinks. This is excellent value for food of this quality.
Likes: the mauricette snails and selection of cheeses were outstanding, the service was discreetly efficient and very friendly. Excellent, well priced wine list.
Dislikes: I have read many reviews that criticise some aspects of the service at Bistrot Bruno Loubet (coffee being brought either too early or too late, water bottles that never materialise and so on) but in my opinion, the service was, on this occasion, faultless.
Verdict: Excellent Bistrot in Clerkenwell serving French regional ingredient/dishes with a modern interpretation. Creative and delicious cooking by Bruno Loubet at very reasonable prices matched by an unusual but well thought out wine list. Very highly recommended.
Bistrot Bruno Loubet on Urbanspoon


  1. What a lovely account of the evening - and *fabulous* photos! You are truly talented, sir!


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