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Côte has ambitions to be the Pizza Express among bistros (or, rather, the Strada – it’s the latest concept from the duo who set up that chain). From one outpost in Wimbledon it currently has 24 sites in London alone – so expect its signature grey and white striped awning to be coming to a high street near you soon, if it hasn't already arrived. The Soho branch is typical: a smart, glossy affair, all polished dark wood and moody grey paintwork, with mirrors, fold-back french doors and modish light fittings, and separate bar and restaurant areas. The drinks list is as Gallic as can be: wine, champagne, beer, cider and aperitifs are all French, with only the spirits and soft drinks hailing from elsewhere. The menu holds no surprises, with the likes of rillettes, steak tartare or moules marinières for starters, followed by assorted fish dishes, lighter options (such as tuna niçoise) or grilled meat. Many diners opt for the latter: Breton free-range chicken or steak (ribeye, sirloin, fillet) with a choice of sauces and a side of frites. There are also salads, somewhat more elaborate mains, and a changing selection of 'plats rapides' which might include confit duck leg or goujons of cod.
124-126 Wardour Street
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