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April 25th, 2012

BISTRO BRUNO LOUBET (Clerkenwell)

 BISTRO BRUNO LOUBET (Clerkenwell)

Beetroot Ravioli @ Bistro Bruno Loubet

Category: Brasserie (£££)

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Bistro Bruno Loubet is a distinctly French restaurant located in stylish boutique hotel The Zetter in the middle of the Golden Restaurant Triangle that is Clerkenwell/Farringdon (within a short walking distance you also find the excellent restaurants The Modern Pantry, St. John’s Restaurant, Vinoteca, North Road, Fox and Anchor and St. Ali).  The dining room is bright and generous, the waiters as Gaelic as can be (ours looked and talked like taken straight out of a French movie actually) and the food is delicious.

The Bordolaise Bruno Loubet has left his native France behind early and has been cooking in London since the 1980s, earning a Michelin star as a head chef at the Four Seasons restaurant.  More down to earth is the food he cooks at Bistro Bruno Loubet (opened in 2010), which offers modern and sophisticated French cuisine combined with influences of Spain, Italian and British (I even spotted a Scotch egg on the menu) as well as the Far East.

The result is nothing short of stunning.

 BISTRO BRUNO LOUBET (Clerkenwell)

Bread @ Bistro Bruno Loubet

I could not resist the toothsome white onion bread and dark loaf and ate far too much of it, covered with finger-thick spread of creamy butter.  It’s always a good sign when the bread is a winner – it always surprises me how many restaurants mess up this first crucial step.

At first I was a bit dubious about the beetroot ravioli (8), as I thought they could be too sweet, but little did I know.  These little parcels of delight were filled with still crunchy slivers of beetroot with only a subtle touch of sweetness, the pasta dough was thin and perfectly al dente and combination with the peppery and strong rucola and the salty parmesan shavings worked a dream.  This all was immersed in slightly browned butter, beautiful.

 BISTRO BRUNO LOUBET (Clerkenwell)

Braised Beef Indochin @ Bistro Bruno Loubet

Surprisingly successful was the Braised Beef Indochine (17.50), in fact this was the best “Asian fusion” dish I have eaten in years.  The name was misleading though, as I did not taste a huge amount of “Vietnamese” in this dish.  It was rather a delightful combination of  hot and cold, crunchy and melting, tangy and sweet: South East Asian herbs (lime leaves, coriander, mint, lemon grass), slices of ripe and juicy mango and beautifully soft and tender beef  in a rich and warm sauce of honey, soy and sesame.

Nice but by not as successful was one of the specials, the Duck.  There was no doubt that the meat was cooked to pink perfection and the honey infused sauce went stunningly with it.  I also like the contrast of sweet with the fresh pak choi.   I was however far from convinced by the accompanying sweet potato cake which did not taste of much really, not even of sweet potato.

 BISTRO BRUNO LOUBET (Clerkenwell)

Duck @ Bistro Bruno Loubet

 

 BISTRO BRUNO LOUBET (Clerkenwell)

Bistro Bruno Loubet

I like the food at Bistro Bruno Loubet very much, and I will almost certainly be back for more.  It is not cheap but in the end it’s worth for what you get.  Also, the wine list is extensive and very reasonably priced with good selection of wines below 25 pounds, Bruno gets Hungry in London brownie points for this!

  • Food: 8/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Ambiance: 7/10
  • Value for Money: 8/10
  • Chances of returning: 80%
  • Verdict:  Inspired and delightful French food in pleasant and not too stiff surroundings
The Criticle Couple had very similar food to me and loved it (damn, I should have had the desserts, look at them!), and Time Out has awarded 5/5 stars.

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2 comments to BISTRO BRUNO LOUBET (Clerkenwell)

  • I’ve read so much about Bistrot Bruno Loubet and decided to take my parents when they were visiting over Easter – we all left unimpressed and I found it lacking in atmosphere (but then we did visit during a very quiet day). Nothing wrong with the food but it just felt uninspired and hotel-y; we must’ve visited on an off day because your review makes it look and sound awesome!

  • Ute

    @Hannah – what a shame! a friend of mine also was not impressed at all, so I’m not sure if I was lucky or you are unlucky? Probably we should both try it again :)

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