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Food / Wine

Du côté de Chez Bruce

By Charlotte Reverse

''Du Côté De Chez Bruce''
Located in Balham, it is worth going out of your way to visit Chez Bruce. The restaurant has quickly made its mark with its elegant interior, impeccable service and the skill of the chef and owner, Bruce Poole.
  A few things to make a note of if you are thinking of making the trip to Chez Bruce. Firstly: reserve a table. Word has travelled fast and it can be very difficult to get a table at weekends if you have not booked in advance. Secondly: don't get lost. Chez Bruce is a little off the beaten track. Situated opposite Wandsworth Common, it has something of a country inn about it - sufficiently far from the centre of London to give one the impression of escaping the big city, whilst retaining a cosmopolitan vibe. Finally: relax! You are in the capable hands of an extremely professional team of waiting staff who do their utmost to make your evening run smoothly. The service cannot be reproached: speedy, discrete and polite. The attention to detail that you will find Chez Bruce is evident from the table settings. The cutlery is stamped 'W. Wright of Sheffield' and the bread is from the renowned Parisian bakery, Poilâne. Subdued lighting gives the place a cosy, intimate atmosphere. It is only a shame that the tables are so close to one another. A romantic dinner for two may feel like a rendez-vous with the whole restaurant, such is your proximity to the other diners!  
However, do not be put off. The important thing is, after all, the food which is superb. The chef, Bruce Poole, formerly of Bibendum and Square, opened the eponymous restaurant in 1995. The menu changes daily but retains a distinctly French flavour. On the starter menu this Thursday 21st October is a warm St Marcellin and artichoke salad served with beetroot and tapenade. The melting cheese combined with the moist artichoke heart and beetroot is pure indulgence. For me, however, the plat de résistance had to be the Feuilleté of brill with shellfish beurre blanc, wild mushrooms and chives. The woody flavour of the chanterelle mushrooms went perfectly with the salty nuances of the mussels.
My only disappointment was the rabbit leg served with pot roast vegetables and gratin dauphinois. The meat was overcooked and had an unpleasant floury texture as though it had been puréed. The portion of gratin dauphinois was minuscule. What a shame!

  For dessert I highly recommend the fig financier. Straight from the oven, the fresh figs and ground almonds are slightly caramelised on top. It is served with ice cream made with fresh cream and marsala wine. Stupefyingly good! L'esprit sommeillant est bercé par des sensations de serre-chaude... I am sure Baudelaire would have loved it.

After eating so well you will no doubt feel a little lethargic, so why not bring yourself out of your stupor with a nice strong espresso served with dark chocolate truffles. This should bring you back to reality in time to pay the bill...

  Allow £35 per head excluding wine.
A service charge of 12.5% is added to the bill.

Chez Bruce
2 Bellevue Road
London, SW17 7EG
Tel : 020 8672 0114


12/04/2012 - bfeather said :

Many many quality points there.


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