In September 2014 the restaurant appointed David Fogelman as new head chef. The American-born Fogelman, who has worked at a number of restaurants including the nearby St John, was planning to develop the Bistrot’s menus alongside Bruno Loubet. The Food and Drink Editors
Chef Bruno Loubet has a lofty reputation, but his restaurant seemed to be coasting on our last visit – perhaps the launch of Grain Store was having an effect? A signature dish, beetroot ravioli with rocket and parmesan, was lovely, finely blending sweet, savoury and subtle acidity, but ‘duck pastrami’ – really just cured duck – with coleslaw was pleasant and no more.
Menus stray far from French tradition into global territory, often with radical flavour contrasts, as in another regular, braised beef indochine in an ultra-rich spicy sauce offset by a mango fruit salad. It’s certainly original, but this one lacked finesse. A summer seafood cassoulet featured salmon, cod and a seafood ‘sausage’ that had been very intricately put together, but also lacked any wow factor. Another sharp contrast appeared in a dessert, a fairly conventional chocolate and praline mousse topped by a very strong bitter-coffee jelly, a mix that divided opinion.
The ground-floor space, in the chic Zetter hotel, is bright, airy and slightly functional; service is charming but rather slow. The wine list seems almost deliberately expensive – should you want a bottle rather than only a glass – with very little under £25.