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Soutine

Restaurants, French St John’s Wood
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
 (Photograph: David Loftus)
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Photograph: David Loftus
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Photograph: David Loftus
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Photograph: Soutine
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Photograph: Soutine
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.

A neighbourhood bistro from the duo behind The Wolseley.

If I said that you could have everything you love about The Wolseley – aka the grand café to end all grand cafés – only in a more intimate, more neighbourhood-y form, would you be excited? Of course you would. I mean, what’s not to like about turn-of-the-century Parisian styling and classic French food in a cosy space, right?

Because that’s exactly what Soutine is: an embodiment of every Londoner’s fantasy of the Parisian bistro, from the Wolseley team. It’s a dapper space – even the loos are gorgeous – with every last repro belle epoque detail perfectly in place. In fact, it’s so pretty, it’s borderline Disney(land Paris). But when staff are this friendly (très un-Parisian) and the food almost-all excellent (ditto that), who even cares?

The menu has all the good stuff. I’m talking oysters, snails, onion soup. Also: croque monsieurs (and madames), steak frites, salade niçoise. They even do a carrot rapées, that grated, vinaigrette-dressed dish which no French picnic – or supermarché – can be without. In fact, the whole thing is like being pelted with all of your Gallic favourites, but in the very nicest way.

At just £19 for a generous portion, you should really order the coq au riesling. A white wine version of the peasant classic, nods to its humble roots included its cast-iron pot , or the fact that the meat was on the bone (though only just: one nudge and off it shimmied). But this was anything but primitive. Intense and aromatic, the sauce – somewhere between creamy and jus – was also thick with juicy, chewy mushrooms. Classy and comforting.

Or the highlight of the evening: a proper veau viennoise, the kind you rarely get these days. A thinly-battered, panko-breadcrumbed veal escalope: golden and magnificently crunchy on the outside, tender and succulent in the middle. It might just be the best thing on the menu. Oh, and it came with a muslin-covered half lemon for pipless squeezing, which is always a nice touch.

One dish – a double-chocolate mousse that was sweet to the point of being inedible – was a decided blip. But Soutine’s charms were many: staff were genial and attentive, more than half the wine list is available by the glass and – strikingly, for a French restaurant – there’s plenty for veggies. From a distance, the whole place emits a warm glow. In fact, chances are, a warm glow is exactly what you’ll leave with. 

Soutine says
Soutine is an informal neighbourhood restaurant in St John’s Wood, taking inspiration from the great boulevard cafés of Paris. Located on St. John’s Wood High Street, the restaurant offers relaxed, informal dining including breakfast, lunch, mid-afternoon snacks, early evening drinks and dinner.

Details

Address: 60 St Johns Wood High St
London
NW8 7SH
Transport: Tube: St. John's Wood
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £105.
Menu: View Menu
Contact:
Opening hours: Open Mon-Sat 8am-10:30pm; Sun 8am-10pm
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