Peter Morrell is impressed with both the food and the views of this popular restaurant group’s latest location
Standing under the Hammersmith flyover outside the tube station, with traffic thundering over and around you it’s difficult to imagine that less than a 10 minute stroll away is an oasis of calm and tranquillity complete with stunning views of the river Thames. However this oasis is a reality and is the location of Brasserie Blanc’s latest restaurant.
Sited in a new development overlooking Fulham Reach, fronted by a traffic free promenade it has a large al fresco terrace for summer dining. Inside the large dining space is bright and airy with the floor to ceiling windows allowing views of the attractive Hammersmith Bridge. The tables are well spaced and on the lunchtime I was there is was busy so the atmosphere was lively and upbeat.
My dining companion and I were soon settled next to a window making the most of the views. We were going to choose dishes from the new Spring menu which is a mix of French classics and dishes from further afield, inspired by owner Raymond Blanc’s love of travel and world flavours.
This new menu has some very interesting dishes on it, some traditionally French like steak tartare and escargots to the more exotic rice paper rolls inspired by the cuisine of south east Asia. After a lot of deliberation my companion chose the ‘BB’ house cheese soufflé and I ordered the potted Cromer crab and avocado.
My friend declared his dish light and delicious with good strong cheese flavour from the Ford Farm coastal cheddar in both the soufflé and the sauce. My potted crab with avocado with prawn butter was excellent. Served with sourdough toast it had a fresh uplifting taste with great depth of seafood flavour, I savoured every mouthful.
The mains were equally inventive with a mix of French traditional and international flavours. Non European dishes included lamb tagine and Malabar fish curry while representatives from closer to home features favourites like moules frites and duck leg confit. My friend’s main was boeuf bourguignon and I had the beef burger. The bourguignon, made with slow-cooked blade of beef with red wine, lardons, baby onions, mushrooms and smooth mash, was hearty and highly satisfying.
My award winning burger, made from free range beef, was served in a sourdough bun
with home-made tomato chutney and very crispy French fries. The medium rare meat was moist and packed with flavour made even better by the extra of Comté cheese. I regularly order a burger as a well executed one is the sign of a good restaurant and this was excellent.
There is a good wine list, mostly from France, for example the very on trend Picpoul de Pinet and from Bordeaux the Château Lyonnat from Saint Émilion. Our pairing for the meal was a red, the Son Excellence Syrah from the Languedoc-Roussillon, a region of France which has come on leaps and bounds in the wine quality stakes. It was a fruity medium bodied wine which showed strong blackcurrant aromas in the bouquet. This continued on the palate and was joined by vanilla from some oak ageing and good peppery notes. The tannins were well balanced and it had a smooth, silky finish.
The portions had been quite filling and desserts were almost beyond us. My friend didn’t succumb to the temptation of the chocolate mousse cup with cherry compote or the more exotic coconut rice with fresh mango but I couldn’t resist the three scoops of Jude’s very vanilla, salted caramel and coffee ice cream. Each of the scoops was good even if a little indulgent.
This was a very good lunch and although we chose more traditional food it was good to see that the new Spring menu is offering a range of dishes for the culinary adventurer. Each course has vegetarian options and there is a section devoted to vegans which features attractive looking dishes like chilli pie and pea, broad bean and red pepper salad.
The overall dining experience was highly enjoyable, the service was friendly and efficient, the food had that magic Raymond Blanc touch, the décor and atmosphere was pleasantly relaxing and of course the location is unbeatable.
020 8237 5566