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Review: Chez Bruce, Wandsworth

Squid salad

Squid salad

So then I realised that I hadn’t been back to Chez Bruce since I started the blog, and that was twelve years ago. Which meant we finally got back here, to discover that it is still an effortlessly brilliant place to have a splendid meal in convivial surroundings.

I could spend the rest of the article trying to work out how they do it, because Chez Bruce regularly crops up high on “favourite restaurant” lists. Not “the best restaurant in the UK” lists, because that’s not their ambition. They seem to have targeted “favourite” as their ambition, and nailed it. But I spent a while thinking about this and I’m just not canny enough to work it out. It’s a magical formula.

My ox tongue-and-tail starter was superb. Beautiful oxtail croquettes, some slices of soft and deep flavoured tongue, bound together with a “dragoncello” sauce (a bit like Italian gribiche with lots of tarragon) and paired with beetroot. Maureen’s squid salad was an equally satisfying melange, with monksbeard, chorizo, chickpeas and aioli working wonders with delicately cooked pieces of squid.

Veal main

Veal main

For main course I was a sucker for “sweetbread, veal fillet and trotter sausage.” The beautiful medallion of rose-pink veal was perhaps the star, although every element was frankly lovely. Roast onion was a great accompaniment, as was the wild garlic puree. Maureen’s slow roast pork belly had a wonderful wafer-thin slice of porchetta draped over it and was served on a bed of crunchy fried black rice, with a sweetcorn sauce on the side. This was a really clever set of earthy and sweet flavours and went down a treat.

All a bit more classic to finish: a smashing creme brulee for Maureen and an assiette de fromage for me. But what an assiette! Ten cheeses… eleven, because they had some nice Gorgonzola they added to the middle of the plate. All well kept, and including various old favourites as well as some new ones on me.

The three course menu is £75 each before drinks, and I’d say that’s a spot-on price point. But I’d have to add that there really is a certain je ne sais pas about Chez Bruce, and it’s quite hard to put a £ value on that!

Pork belly

Pork belly

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