My friend Jo was in town and when she asked me to recommend somewhere for Sunday lunch. I went one better and invited myself along!
We decided on Bistro Bruno Loubet in Clerkenwell.
Normally when I see Jo we're a bit worse for wear and in some dodgy bar or club so it made a nice change to go for a civilised meal and a proper catch-up. The Bistro is part of the Zetter Hotel and is a light and relaxed room.
The Bistro has gained numerous plaudits since opening and with it's reasonably priced, seasonal menu offering contemporary twists on classic French dishes it is easy to see why.
Given my love of asparagus and garlic then the starter was an easy choice for me and I'm pleased to say it lived up to my expectations. The subtle flavour of the wild garlic enhanced the taste of the asparagus and I loved the slithers of asparagus that ran through the soup. Delicious.
Salmon tartare, radish and pickled ginger yuzu dressing
Jo was equally ebullient about her summery salmon starter. The delicate, wafer thin, salmon combined fantastically with the peppery crunch of the radish and the subtle citrus kick from the yuzu.
Mains were excellent. I loved the crunchy, lollipop-esque crackling twirls and the unctuous, melt in the mouth fat of the pork. The accompanying veg and lemon glaze gave the dish a slightly oriental feel, but it was the perfect pork that was the star of the show.
Jo just described this as 'wow' and it was a seriously good dish. The rich, satisfying sauce and tender, gamey rabbit were a great match, although the accompanying veg gave the dish a more hearty winter feel than a spring/summer one. Very good though.
Desserts were a big disappointment. My chocolate delice was sat on a coffee soaked base. Given that I detest coffee and there was no mention of it on the dessert description I was going to send it back.
Sadly, no staff were on hand (they were winding down at the end of service and were chatting at the bar) and after five minutes I gave up and dissected the bottom and ate the rest. Even when my dish was collected the waiter (who up to that point had been ok) didn't ask if everything was ok or why I'd left a big chunk of my dessert.
Jo said she couldn't decide if the desert was genius or just wrong! For me, there was technically nothing wrong with it and the individual elements weren't bad, but they resembled a car crash in the mouth and just didn't work as a combination. The green peppercorn ice-cream overpowered the rest and it just didn't taste right to me.
It's a shame the deserts were disappointing, as the savory dishes were excellent and I'd definitely give Bistor Bruno Loubet another chance and will look it up next time I'm in the area.