A shot of warm, villagey France in Bermondsey with a sensibly priced menu of boldly chosen, smartly executed French classics.
With José, Pizarro and now Casse-Croûte, nifty eateries are blooming along Bermondsey Street like edible flowers. They’re a tight-knit family, as the just-opened Casse-Croûte’s owner Hervé Durochat is also a partner in José and Pizarro. But while José and Pizarro both offer canny takes on Spanish food, Casse-Croûte is a shot of France – a warm, villagey France. There’s space for just 20 covers on the site of a former sandwich shop, with the room done out in dark wood and embossed wallpaper suggesting a patina of age.
Casse-Croûte feels genuinely familial – in the opening week, Hervé was greeting customers with the Parisian double kiss. In these early days it was already a joyful scrum of elbows, knees and waiters’ bums brushing your back as they went past.
Best of all, the menu of boldly chosen, smartly executed French classics really delivers. Delicate shavings of calf’s head were given zip with a tangy sauce ravigote, while creamy mackerel rillettes were pepped up with a scoop of mustard ice cream. A main course of pollock on a bed of artichokes was heady with parsley and dill, while the guinea fowl two ways – slices of roast breast and a mound of slow-cooked dark meat – was an earthy hit of good-quality game. Desserts were a little more workmanlike: a punchy peach melba and an intense chocolate gâteau with powerfully minty ice cream, but admirable. With the sensible pricing, and a cheese and charcuterie selection in the works, nous reviendrons.