Recently refurbished and with a brand spanking new warming winter menu, Charlotte Street’s Brasserie Blanc is back on the map for a lunchtime lounge, evening meal or breakfast with friends before hitting the Fitzrovia shops for the day. Gone are the formal white table cloths and starched napkins, instead an inviting dining room with warm tones and wooden tables and cosy booths invites you in.
Spread over three floors – private dining is a big part of BB’s business – the venue is tastefully decorated with a homely French feel but Fitzrovia style. Staff are welcoming on arrival and keen to offer their personal recommendations when it comes to dishes. You feel as if they’re telling you what they actually like, and not reading off a script for the day pushing specials they’ve been told to sell. The whole idea of the rebranding of the restaurants is to make them more welcoming – chez nnous – than formal, and it works. Despite being a rainy Tuesday the day we visited, the restaurant was brimming with lunching businessmen and groups of girls on a pre-Christmas day out, all enjoying the bustling, informal atmosphere.
Having enjoyed a leisurely browse of the menu while devouring a bowl of juicy olives and basket of freshly baked bread, my companion and I set about ordering our meals. I plumped for the vegetarian options of cheddar cheese souffle and crepes francomptoise – delicously light pancakes stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and emmental cheese, while my pal picked the morteau sausage starter followed by roasted scottish scallops served with poached smoked bacon, autumn vegetables and a meuniere sauce.
There’s only one word that can describe the souffle that I was served – and that’s perfection. From the fluffy, light body to the creamy cheddar sauce that was there to be drizzled over and inside, it was both delicate and utterly delicious. The sausage was also a hit, served with a perfectly poached egg which spilled out over the fresh potato salad accompaniment.
Brasserie Blanc takes its name from everyone’s favourite French chef Raymond Blanc (Sorry Mr Novelli) and his love of Maman Blanc’s cooking shines through as you peruse the menu and devour the dishes. Plates are served well presented but not fussy, with a feel of French home cooking, despite ingredients being sourced from across the British Aisles. The chain uses only sustainable, seasonal fish from a supplier who works closely with the Marine Stewardship Council to ensure the ethical sourcing of the fish and shellfish. Using ethical suppliers is something brasserie Blanc is proud of, and they are renowned for their Aubrey Allen steaks which are all 30 day dry-aged, from free-range herds of Cornish heritage cattle. The head chefs in each brasserie work with local suppliers for the best of seasonal vegetables, game, cheeses and daily specials.
The time taken to pick the right ingredients is evident when you taste the food, and so it was that our main courses did not disappoint. With a dish of dauphinoise on the side, we finished the lot. Clean plates, full tums and happy heads after a glass each of crisp, fresh voignier, we were left with just enough room for a spoonful of sorbet to round everything off. Other desserts on offer include a white cheese mousse, chocolate souffle and crepes suzette, but having indulged in so much bread we decided to leave them for our next visit!
Found nestled in the shadows of the famous Charlotte Street hotel, Brasserie Blanc is a great destination for a relaxed and leisurely lunch. The staff are friendly and the food fabulous. There are lunchtime deals too so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank as you enjoy one of the most satisfying meals this side of Oxford Street.
For more information on menus or to book at table, go to brasserieblanc.com/location/charlotte-street/