Went to new-ish French restaurant, Blanchette a month ago with my younger sister. We wanted somewhere decently priced with a fuss free ambience. Apparently, the three French brothers that set up this joint consulted the Salt Yard group, so, this may have influenced their choice of small plates of food (yep another one of those). We may as well embrace this long seated trend because it ain’t going anywhere any time soon. A canny way of luring people in, thinking they are getting a bargainous dinner until you are hit with that bill of £50 per head, 3 small plates of food later. This has gotten off to a begruntled start, which is really not reflective of what I thought of the place! We actually ate for not much money at all (£30 a head including a carafe of vino).
The restaurant itself has a lovely vibe (including great service) and on the whole I really liked the decor – I particularly liked the tiled walls by the bar. There are lots of cool little trinkets dotted around the restaurant but there are parts of it that do feel a bit forced and contrived. I’m not sure how many people the restaurant sits but it’s not a huge amount, may 40 (really wild guess!); there is also the ‘Jungle Room’ downstairs that serves as a private dining room .
Presented with a brown paper bag and a side dish of butter, our Blanchette exploration begun. Good bread and good butter as one would expect from any decent French establishment – Tick. Then cheese beignets with onion confit (£3.50); there were about 4-6 teeny cheese pieces cloaked in deep fried dough which I smeared with the delightful onion confit accompaniment. Let’s just say my greedy little mouth was very pleased to receive it. Tick
The menu is split into: Snacks (which the beignets fall under as well as frog legs), Charcuterie, Cheese, Fish, Meat and Vegetables.
Scanning the Fish section, I went with the Seared Peppered Tuna with Grilled Broccoli and Ratatouille. I dug this – the tuna was lightly seared (thank goodness, no rubbery disasters here) the veg was perfectly cooked too. I must admit I haven’t really eaten ratatouille since my school days which I’m sure left a rather unfair portrait of this humble stew in my mind but I decided to opt for it anyway because I was really in the mood for a bit of tuna. The ratatouille didn’t disappoint, well flavoured, it rounded off the dish nicely. There were no crazy complex flavours, it was just a good simple, solid dish. I would certainly order it again. My sister had a special which was a pork chop dish and she literally couldn’t stop raving about it.
We also shared a vegetable side dish: Green Bean Salad with Foie Gras, Shallots and Walnut dressing( £6.75) which again was cooked well, with the green beans on the crunchy end of the scale. They had a decently priced wine list with a starting price of £4.75 for a glass.
I am a lover of dessert but we didn’t try any here as we decided to check out the newly opened Pudding Bar (which turned out to be a big mistake). So, when I revisit this quaint little joint, I will for sure sample the sweets they have on offer.
Address: 9 D’Arblay St, London W1F 8DR
Phone: 020 7439 8100
Open: Monday to Saturday 12.00 noon – 11.00 pm | Sunday 12.00 noon – 9.00 pm
LAST VISTED SEP 2014