Chez Bruce

Some restaurants need no introductions. Having been fortunate to spend nearly two years in the kitchens under the tutelage of Bruce Poole and his long standing head chef, Matt Christmas, Chez Bruce, during my stint was probably the most educated kitchen in all of England, with almost every chef having a degree under their belt in literature, philosophy, geography or science! It definitely made for some of the more interesting conversations to be found in such an environment! Having dined their several times during my employment, the memory of each meal stayed remarkably fresh – not because the food was cooked any better for the staff who came to dine, but because it was just so very good and consistent. It’s no surprise Londoners voted it as their favourite restaurant for so many years. So when a good friend (and ex-colleague from here) suggested we go for lunch, I didn’t have to to think twice. 

A little nibble of parmesan wafer whilst perusing the menu proved to be a well timed morsel and yet, choosing off the ‘I wish I could eat everything’ menu wasn’t as difficult as I envisaged. In fact, the dishes jumped out and chose me!

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Pigs Head
Oxtail
Sea bass

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A little surprise by way of Salad of pigs head, beetroot, mustard, finely grated comte and crackling brought a smile to both our faces – thinly sliced braised pigs head, croquettes and pungent beetroot…nothing out of balance, and refreshingly light.

My starter of Braised oxtail, garlic crouton, mushroom duxelle, quails egg was…too small! One could easily eat a main course size portion of this and nothing else  – hearty, intensely flavoured and that garlic crouton, soaked with the juices of the oxtail (give me more!!!!) Easily one of the most gratifying starters I’ve had in a long time.

Another surprise from the kitchen was our middle course of Roast sea bass, olive crust, fennel puree. Classic flavours, classic combinations and a hunky piece of sea bass just sitting there winking at you. A perfect middle course to balance out the richness of the starter.

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Lamb

Lamb breast sainte menehoulde with pearl barley, roast root vegetables, roasting juices. A feast of lamb – could this really be happening? My eyes did nearly pop out when this arrived. Braised lamb breast that has been deep fried came with a herb crusted pave of lamb shoulder and poached lamb tongue. One could wax lyrical about this dish and yet not find ways to do it justice.

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Millefeuille
Rhubarb
Buttermilk pudding

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Yet more love for his ex-chefs, Matt sent us out an extra dessert of Caramel and Chocolate millefeuille, roast pear, dulche de leche ice cream which the both of us attacked with much gusto – everything in place, everything making love in perfect harmony.

Poached Yorkshire rhubarb, champagne granita, orange flower water and pistachios thankfully was light and refreshing as we were getting rather full up by now but the winner out of all three was definitely the

Buttermilk and vanilla pudding with soft quince amaretti! A mix between a brulee, pannacotta and junket, the buttermilk pudding was set to just that delicate creamy consistency, mellowing out the sharp poached quince served on top and the quince amaretti were a revelation – warm, chewy, fruity, nutty….

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Happily satiated and delirious on the multitude of flavours, gazing out at Wandsworth Common and sipping a 1979 armagnac whilst talking about travelling experiences was surely the best way to spend a cold Monday afternoon. Not to mention, catching up with familiar faces and getting tips from the sommelier on which vineyards one should visit in Argentina! Who wouldn’t be happy – regardless of whether you’re an old friend of Chez Bruce or a first-timer. The whole experience will have you racing back for more! Am I slightly biased? Maybe, but who needs bias when the facts are right there in front of you?! And with what is probably the most affordable and reasonably priced Michelin star restaurant in all of London, what else is there to question?

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Food: 9
Overall experience: 9
Recommend you go: 9
Website
Chez Bruce on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

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