Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Contemporary French Bistro Aubaine, London

Showcasing classic French cuisine with an international twist, Aubaine offers seamless all-day dining. Brimming with fairy tale-style elegance, and spectacular patisserie displays. But this mini chain of urbane cafés isn’t just good for a caffeine & sugar fix: breakfast & brunch gives way to a menu of fashionable Med-influenced fare, for example roast rack of lamb with a niçoise garnish, lobster spaghetti or Roquefort salad with pears, dandelions & figs. They’re licensed too &, surprisingly, have some global wines slotted in amongst the French contingent.

With so much variety on offer across London's restaurant scene it can be easy to overlook the classic French dining experience in an attempt to experience something 'out there' or the latest new trend.

However there is a very good reason that French cuisine has been around for this long and it's not just because the food itself is superb; there aren't many places where you'll find an atmosphere as warm and sophisticated as a French bistro. Aubaine is well aware of this and captures and combines both elements to create an understated and charming restaurant. 

The staff are all attentive, charming and happy to make recommendations without being pushy. They make up for very brief menu descriptions of the food by being very knowledgable about all the dishes.

From the slightly worn looking tables and chairs to the little baskets of bread brought over when you sit down, everything plays on a romanticised view of rural France, but it's played exceptionally well and if you squint slightly you'll all but leave Mayfair behind and find yourself trying to remember the French word for 'delicious'.

And 'delicious' will be the word you're looking for; the menu is pitched perfectly and there were several dishes I was torn between. But selected the refreshing salade du marche,  I can honestly say it was superb

For the main course; Grilled halibut, romanesco, broad beans, spring greens and clams. I don't normally go for fish as a main course but I went with the waiter's recommendation this time and I was extremely glad I did. The spring greens and clams brought the delicately cooked fish to life.

But Make sure you save some room for desert which is just as special . Aubaine kind of place where you can easily forget yourself and realise you've spent a whole evening eating and drinking. In fact, that's exactly what I did, so much so that I was decidedly wobbly when I left, returning to the hustle and bustle of London. 

So next time you're thinking of going out for dinner; spare a thought for the humble French bistro. You won't regret it.

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