With Raymond Blanc’s name above the door, Brasserie Blanc pulls in a fair trade – it’s heaving on the Saturday night we visit; although, oddly, a huge chunk of the clientele seems to be over 50.
Booths are dotted around the room, with huge metal storage overhead, locomotive-style. A checkered black-and-white tiled floor, large dark-wooden chairs and tables, and a zinc bar with stools for pre-dinner cocktails conjure a vintage vibe. The staff are incredibly friendly – and not in an annoying, over-attentive way, but are happy to recommend dishes, wines, desserts.
The grub Blanc says his aim for this chain is to serve dishes like his mother did while he was growing up in France. My Miscellany Of Salads is enough for two to share – large helpings of creamy cucumber and dill creme fraiche, celeriac remoulade, potato salad along with carrot vinaigrette, breakfast radish and sweetheart salad. It’s a light, tapas-style dish made with fresh ingredients – nothing too overpowering.
Across the table, my friend is tucking into the authentic Escargot In Garlic Herb Butter, washing them all down with a bottle of crisp Domaine Begude Vin De Pays D’oc, Sauvignon Blanc. Next up is a sublime dish of Swiss Chard and Gruyere Gratin – potatoes swimming in thick, gloopy cheese, served with mushrooms and a perfectly cooked egg.
Equally impressed, my companion finishes her Roast Lincolnshire Free Range Pork Belly, which is served with a generous portion of crackling, along with green apple sauce. All the dishes are spot on.
Behind the bar As you would expect, BB specialises in French wines. As well as the better-known Sancerre and Chablis, there’s also a selection of regional offerings.
Bill please Starters from £5.90; main courses from £12; dessert from £2. Champagne from £8 per glass; wine from £4.50/ £18.50 per glass/ bottle.
Verdict A top option for fantastic French fare.
9 Belvedere Road, SE1 8YL
Tube | Waterloo