Surprised to see so many negative comments, my experience of Blanchette was very positive: good food, wine and service was friendly too.
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Thu Dec 5 2013
It’s not only London restaurants that have had to adapt to survive. In Paris – a city so self-conscious it might as well carry a make-up mirror – even the neighbourhood bistros and brasseries are having to work hard to keep their custom. The result of the economic dip has been dishes using cheaper ingredients, but with no loss of quality, flavour or Frenchness. The paying customer has never had it so good – even if the tables are a bit more squished together.
Blanchette isn’t quite as good as the best of the new-style Paris bistros, but it does share some of their traits. This is not the place to come for oysters and champagne; instead, it’s making good use of simple ingredients. Pissaladière is a simple dish from Nice which packs a lot of flavour into a few bites, with slow-cooked onions, olives, garlic and anchovies topping a thin and crisp focaccia-like base. Beef bourguignon is another classic, this version using ox cheeks, slow-cooked to softness. Instead of the usual lardons (very fatty pork cubes or rashers), ventreche – a ‘bacon’ made from beef – is used to good effect as the topping. It’s not every kitchen that can get the simple things right, but the béarnaise sauce, served with crisp frites, was perfectly textured, and not too heavy-handed with the tarragon.
Blanchette captures the France of the imagination. It’s a delightful rus in urbe in Soho with its bare brick walls, stripped furniture and objets d’art. The Francophone staff are a little bit amateurish, but very enthusiastic and fluent in English. Quite unlike real Parisian waiters, then.
Reviewed by Guy Dimond
Blanchette 9 D'Arblay Street
- Venue phone:
020 7439 8100
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Open noon-11pm daily.
Tube: Oxford Circus or Tottenham Court Road
Meal for two with drinks and service: around £70.
- 9 D'Arblay Street
- 020 7439 8100
- 9 D'Arblay Street
Average User Rating
3 / 5
- 5 star:5
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:5
I dropped in with a friend at 6.30 on a Friday evening to an almost empty bistro, but was immediately taken by the enchanting, idiosyncratic decor. All the staff we encountered were amiable and enthusiastic; our main waitress made excellent personal recommendations on both food and wine; dishes are small and designed for sharing; we started with cheese and charcuterie, followed by 2 items each from the fish, meat and veg sections. The dessert I ordered, by recommendation, of chocolate marquise with salted caramel puffed rice and praline ice cream was so scrumptious- I couldn't bring myself to share it! The food and concept has similarities with Ember Yard which I had dined in the week before; both definitely worth going, but Blanchette has a much more interesting vibe.
Went here today for lunch with my friend. We were greeted very warmly by the waiter and the place looked very promising. All was good until we got to our table. It was right in the middle of the room and we had to sit on uncomfortable stools. Table was tiny and my stool got kicked several times by the customers and rude waitresses. The food was mediocre (only the desert was nice) and the service was horrendous. The waiter who greeted us was friendly and polite but we were served by two very rude French waitresses. I didn't get their names but one of them started SCOLDING my friend when she forgot her pin number when we were paying. The waitress actually said to her "I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. JUST PUT YOUR PIN AND PRESS ENTER!!", and continued to scoff and roll her eyes at my friend. I was SO shocked and told the waitress to calm down as she was making my friend even more distressed. My friend was having a rough day and we only managed to digest the whole situation after we left. That's when I got really angry and wanted to go back in to lodge a complaint but my friend told me to leave it. Never going back there again!
It's true: The french reception guy is incredibly rude!! Me and my wife were dressed for the opera an arrived in our british racing green Bentley (so it was not about our "style") and we didn't feel welcome at all! NEVER AGAIN! A restaurant like this won't survive in central london!
This sounded pretty good, so I clicked on the link to the website, but as soon as the irritating soundtrack started blasting out of my laptop without consent, I hit the little cross in the corner and wrote this review
It was OK, not spectacular. The service was rushed. We were the only table occupied at 6.45, chatting away happily and had to send the waitress away 3 times after she interrupted to see if we were ready to order. Another big minus point is the use of jigs to measure the wine. No self-respecting restaurant or wine bar would do this; it looks, and is, cheap. Not a great first impression when waiting for my date. The bar stools are also easily the least comfortable I've had the miss-fortune to perch on. In summary; nearly, but not quite.
I was visiting Blanchette Friday night and I loved it! Me and my friend came for a late dinner without any reservation. After about 20 minutes waiting in the bar with a glass of champagne(delicious) they made space for us at the communal table. One of the staff members spend some time explaining the concept and the menu, which we later found out was one of the owner! It was really hard to sit still when the speakers kept pumping out some really good tunes so even the staff couldn't stop dancing. The food was great and the fois gras was to die for! Even if it took a while to get a table(like all the good places in soho) it was all worth the wait and I will definitely be back!
This place is a real hidden London gem! Great food which is shockingly amazing value, friendly staff (other places around soho could learn a thing or two about service) and beautiful wine. Cheaper than the Eurostar if you want an authentic French bistro experience. The music and décor is perfect and adds to the experience...bring some friends order a couple of bottles and share the entire menu!!
Finally some great food in a cool looking bistro!! Unfortunately it doesn't happen too often even with very successful Soho restaurateurs… Service is charming, the music is the best playlist I have listened to for a long time, the decor is very Parisian…a lot of flair and flavours. My new hang out, and it won't break the wallet...
The Food is great and service is even better. Very relaxing and quality! Great addition to Soho scene and London food selection . Will be my second home ...
I have visited Blanchette on several occasions and find the wine list extremely decent value. The food is delicious and staff fun and attentive. Door host is a real character and is actually the owner! .
A truly excellent meal with friendly and efficient service. Would highly recommend. Our booking was for a Saturday evening. The restaurant was busy, but despite this our waitress was happy to take time talking us through the menu and we were not left waiting for our food to arrive. The food itself, all served as starter-sized sharing plates, was delightful. All the dishes were a joy: typically well balanced with all the depth of flavour one expects from classic French cooking. The lamb shoulder with rosemary and anchovy was a particularly treat, complemented with aplomb with a chilled bottle of Beaujolais villages. Nom.
I don't like this place at all! Food is pretty average. Some wines are ok, but no big deal! Worst thing about this place is the service! The french guy and his stuff is very rude. My wife and me had to wait more than an hour for the food and when I asked him he answered in an very ignorant way and didn't feel sorry at all! !!DON'T GO THERE!! If you're looking for a top french restaurant go to "la petite maison" (Brook’s Mews, London).
I went there for dinner last weekend. The atmosphere is good, and the menu is excellent. Wine quality is also good. HOWEVER, I found the French guy taking the bookings EXTREMELY RUDE, to the point that you don't feel welcome at all. We had a booking for 4 people at 9.00pm. We were a bit late (15mn), and he called, saying in a very undiplomatic tone: "if you don’t show up in 5 minutes, I will give your table away". We turned up within 5mn. We were 5 (instead of 4). He was so paranoid, saying: I only have a table of 4, and you would not fit in. I looked at the table, and I felt it was manageable. But he insisted that we won't fit, and that we wouldn’t enjoy dinner, to the point that I asked him "do you want us to leave"? I would have left anyway, if it was not extremely hard to find a table in a decent restaurant in Soho on Friday night. It was a surreal conversation, and I couldn’t believe my ears! I have been to LOADs of much better quality restaurants, and I have never seen someone as unhelpful and rude (even in Paris!). After this incident, the dinner went just fine, and staff was helpful. If it were not for the rude reception, I would give it 5 or 4 stars. Too bad, I didn’t feel welcome: it deserves one. I think the owners should think about putting someone in charge with a minimum of social skills and appreciation of customer service.