If you observe photos of famous chef, Raymond Blanc, most of them have a giant smile radiating from Monsieur Blanc. It is this joy and passion that is evident in the restaurants that he owns from the decor to the service down to the staff. When you enter Brasserie Blanc Southbank, you are greeted by a cosy, warm bar, which is ideal for post-work drinks. The restaurant itself has a muted, quietly sophisticated feel, whilst also feeling extremely welcoming thanks to the soft, warm lighting.
As Raymond Blanc himself once said “Food is for life, for joy, for saying I love you” and this does come across strongly when you see the heartwarming French classics on his menu. In fact we were so enamoured with that idea, we choose all our dishes from their les Classiques section.
The escargots were beautifully seasoned with garlic herb butter; with just enough herbs to flavour the snails without overpowering their taste. Although the baguette was missing from the dish, which didn’t matter in the end, as the staff attentively refilled out bread basket that we ordered prior to the starters. Steak tartare was gently chilled with the right amount of herb distribution amongst the fresh tasting Cornish beef. It is great to see Raymond Blanc using local suppliers where possible rather than importing all his ingredients from France.
The only slight disappointment of the night was the classic boeuf bourguignon. The appearance of the meat looked dull in colour on arrival, whilst the meat was perfectly tender from the right amount of slow-cooking, it was lacking in the taste of beefiness and the dish could have done with more Burgundy. By contrast, the roast Barbury duck had vibrant colours which looked appetising when presented to us. The duck was lean, well-sourced and only had the slightest amount of fat under the skin. The citrus sauce is a superb classic sauce for the roast duck and it was great to see the zesty orange peels still left on the dish to add more flavours to the dish. The dauphinoise potato and pot-roasted carrots made sure that this was a filling dish and we would end up only having space to share 1 dessert.
With the sunny, summery weather, we opted for the summer berry savarin. The cake itself was a little too sturdy, but the taste was magnifique, as the cake was soaked with kirsch and white vanilla and the dessert was filled with healthy fruits like strawberries and raspberries.
They also have a surprisingly lengthy cocktail menu for a classic French brasserie. We tried their strawberry and basil daiquiri and elderflower st clements; both of which were refreshing and great for sipping on their olive grove oasis terrace in the summer months.
Whether you are heading to the many excellent arts institutions on the Southbank or want a place to enjoy classic French dishes before heading home from Waterloo station, Brasserie Blanc Southbank is the ideal stopover for the discerning diner.