The all-day dining destination Brasserie Blanc on the Southbank has undergone a makeover, and we were made up with the result.
With interiors based on the eating area in super-chef Raymond Blanc’s own home, the new look restaurant has a relaxed and refined feel. There’s a fantastic outdoor terrace, complete with an olive tree oasis creating an idyllic spot to while away an afternoon with friends in this iconic city location just a stone’s throw from Waterloo station. A beautiful botanical theme and wall art of stunning food photography complement the new unclothed tables, cosy sofas and chairs.
Serving simple, hearty French dishes, Brasserie Blanc’s menu reads like a storybook of the flavours from Raymond Blanc’s childhood. The same menu can be found in all venues, but specials vary from place to place and time to time. All offer the excellent escargots and a selection of bread and olives. The Trempettes appetiser is a must-have selection of freshly baked bread served with a perfect but potent saffron garlic mayonnaise, olive tapenade, and a syrupy balsamic set below an intense and rich olive oil.
The special on our visit was an asparagus started with a poached duck egg resting gently above. As the yolk melted into the accompanying sauce the pleasure was visual as well as tasty. My companion plumped for the cheese soufflé from the ‘Les Classiques’ range, which also includes favourites such as boeuf bourguignon and grilled cod fillet au citron. Other more seasonal options include dishes of chilli and ginger squid; steak tartare ‘maison’; or seared Shetland Isles salmon fillet with pickled vegetables, dill crème fraîche and French fries from the Spring menu.
There’s not a great choice for vegetarians and only one option when it comes to main courses, so I went for that – a duo of chickpea and coriander cakes served with smoked aubergine and roasted tomato sauce. It may have been the only choice, but it was a good one, and the delicious dauphinoise we ordered as a side with green beans set it off perfectly. My guest enjoyed the pasture-reared cornish beef ‘Le Burger’ which came in a moist brioche bun and with a bucket of piping hot frites. A perfectly executed classic which once demolished, left little room for dessert.
The decadent desserts on offer include a summer berry savarin, chocolate and almond torte, pistachio soufflé with chocolate ice-cream, and baked Alaska for two flambéed with Cointreau. Having stuffed ourselves silly, though, we opted for the refreshing selection of sorbets.
Brasserie Blanc boasts a varied wine list, but the cocktails were what drew us in on this occasion. We both went for the Tuscan Garden – a heady mix of Beefeater gin, fresh lime and cloudy apple juice. We also enjoyed the creative specials of a Rhubarb and Honey Martini, and the signature Lemongrass and Ginger Sour. The menu also offers expertly made classics such as peach, passionfruit or strawberry Bellinis and the Negroni.
Brasserie Blanc on the Southbank is no longer just a dinner destination, it’s an all-day venue where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the ambience. The music’s not bad either, a mixture of indypop and classic rock wafted gently through the speakers during our visit, giving an up tempo atmosphere to the bustling bar.
- To book a table or peruse the menus further, see brasserieblanc.com/restaurants/southbank/