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March 15th, 2012

BISTRO DU VIN (Soho)

 BISTRO DU VIN (Soho)

Sardines on Toast @Bistro du Vin

Category: Brasserie (£££)

red traffic11 150x150 BISTRO DU VIN (Soho)

My dinner at Bistro du Vin has been a largely unpleasant experience and the food could be summarised with the two words “Dry” and “Bland“.  On top of this, the service personnel was truly annoying (such as 3 waiters  asking the same question within the space of 2 minutes and fake friendliness that seemed very insincere) and a waiting time of 45 minutes for the starter of the pre-theatre menu.

Should my expectations be lowered because I ordered from a pre-theatre menu?  I have discussed this in earlier posts and maybe I am wrong, but I expect the same quality for pre-theatre as for ordering à la carte menu.  My understanding is that you pay less because you dine at a time (at Bistro du Vin before 7pm) that a restaurant otherwise would stand empty and you clear the table for a second or maybe even third sitting.  In addition you order from a reduced menu which is easier for the kitchen to plan and prepare.

It might be that the a la carte menu at Bistro du Vin is utterly delicious and it’s just the pre-theatre menu that is substandard.  Alternatively, the food at Bistro du Vin is just rubbish in general.  Whatever the answer, I will stay clear of this restaurant in the future.  Having said this, the bar is lovely and the bistro- style atmosphere (apart from the irritating waiters) invites to linger for another glass of wine.

 BISTRO DU VIN (Soho)

Bistro du Vin

 BISTRO DU VIN (Soho)

pre-theatre menu @Bistro du Vin

Our pre-theatre disaster started with bone-dry and tasteless sardines on toast.  The second starter consisted of 3 fried balls of goat’s cheese served with a couple of sad pieces of bland beetroot.  Utterly unremarkable and forgettable.

The starters were not great but the disaster was yet to come…

 BISTRO DU VIN (Soho)

Heritage Beetroot and Crispy Goat's Cheese Salad @Bistro du Vin

The Mushroom Risotto was an abomination.  I have seldom eaten a plate of food that was so utterly without any redeeming qualities.  The mushrooms tasted of nothing, the rice was overcooked and lacked the sharp flavour that you would usually get from the parmesan melting into the risotto just before serving and even the cheese shavings on top were remarkably bland.

The question really is whether risotto should ever be on a supposedly quick pre-theatre menu, considering that it should be prepared from scratch (which takes at least 20-25 minutes) and should never ever be reheated.  The Bistro du Vin version beautifully demonstrated WHY reheating risotto doesn’t work as it results in an unsavoury pulp.

 BISTRO DU VIN (Soho)

Chestnut Mushroom Risotto @Bistro du Vin

In comparison the second main of Chicken Milanese was almost tasty, apart from being dry and insipid of course.  I am sure it requires some skill to remove any kind of moisture from a chicken and prepare something so utterly devoid of any flavour.  It was almost like a flavour black hole, even after emptying half a salt shaker onto this dish, it still tasted of nothing!

 BISTRO DU VIN (Soho)

Chicken Milanese, Heritage Tomato Salad @Bistro du Vin

They didn’t even get the cheese right!  I love cheese and I am very open-minded to trying different varieties.  The blue cheese at Bistro du Vin however tasted vile and was basically inedible.

 BISTRO DU VIN (Soho)

Cheese Platter @Bistro du Vin

I had high hopes in Bistro du Vin, particularly as a lot of other food bloggers liked it, but boy, was I disappointed!

  • Food: 4/10
  • Service: 5/10
  • Ambiance: 8/10
  • Value for Money: 5/10
  • Chances of Returning: for drinks, yes – for food, never ever again.
Jay Rayner did not like Bistro du Vin either, while A Girl has to Eat and The London Eater had a decent meal there.

biglink BISTRO DU VIN (Soho)

3 comments to BISTRO DU VIN (Soho)

  • What a shame as I had a lovely meal there. I agree that there should not be different standards at all for pre theatre dining – you pay a cheaper price but you are not dining at a “peak” time not to have lesser standards. Sorry to read this.

  • SB

    I had an unremarkable meal at Bistro du Vin in Smithfields but as I ordered a burger only it couldn’t really sink into a catastrophe, though it does cross my mind that I won’t wander into the one in Soho, especially when other independent restaurants in the area can serve superior food at the same or lower price (say, Gauthier, 10 Greek Street, Barrafina, Arbutus, Koya, etc.).

    Really sorry to hear of your experience. I also think that the long wait is frustrating and therefore unforgivable. As a pre theatre menu, surely the restaurant must fulfill a moral obligation that their diners make it to the theatre in time.

  • An invitation to try Pre theatre meal at Cafe Nouf, near Apollo and Victoria Palace theatre, near Victoria station

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