Long standing Michelin starred restaurant overlooking Wandsworth Common
My second visit to Chez Bruce overlooking Wandsworth Common and good to be back to do properly. The cooking here is honest and with good execution of dishes that please. The restaurant itself has a distinct history in that the site was formerly Marco Piere White’s Harvey’s in the late 80s and early 90s and was here that he shot to fame. The restaurant is owned by Nigel Platts-Martin who also owns La Trompette in Chiswick and The Glasshouse in Kew – all of which have a Michelin star (including Chez Bruce) so Mr Platts-Martin clearly leads and recruits very well. I was glad to come back and this is a reliable restaurant with a lovely view if of the common if you are upstairs in their private dining room.
We started with some homemade breads with the focaccia being done particularly well. I insisted that the white onion soup with the cheese gougeres was sampled again in case it was fluke on the first round and I can report it is most decidedly not luck – this soup has a beautifully. Autumnal feel and lovely, deep flavour of onion with quality gougeres. Chicken liver parfait and foie gras was wonderfully smooth and served with perfectly done brioche.
Starters included a bacon and leek sausage roll with venison loin and Savoy cabbage. Although the interior sat at the content level I thought the pastry shell was superb. Bombay, cured cauliflower came with a spiced tomato chutney with coriander, cumin, cardamom, ginger and lime. This was very pleasant and pretty much an onion bhaji alternative. Mains included hare loin with game sausage, red cabbage, creamed spelt, raisins, walnut, bacon, red cabbage and walnuts. Sounds like quite a lot but this worked very well together and the more acidic and pickled elements helped to balance the gamier and richer and larger mouthfuls.
Three desserts were tried. The first being a soft and warm pear and almond tart that fluffy and with appropriate sweetness. For someone who loves amaretto and the puffed rice, the tonka bean panna cotta with caramelised white chocolate, amaretto, puffed rice and maple syrup was a fairly wonderful dessert to have. I loved how the flavours complimented each other and the dish had good texture all round as well a well-judged panna cotta. Another dessert was offered which was white chocolate vienetta hazelnut praline dessert served with classic creme Anglaise as an experimental dessert. This was great with a sauce that was not too sickly sweet and was a marriage with the beautifully done chocolate.
Overall, there really is not much to dislike here and this was a far more fulfilling food experience than had on my first visit. The a la carte is £55 for three courses (incl in the evening) and £35 for a set menu lunch in the afternoon. Normally I rave about the utility of set menu lunches but I would say this is one of the few places that has an extremely good value menu for the evening as a result for what you are getting and this was a £95 per person lunch on this occasion with everything included that was money certainly well spent.
Food Grade: 78%
I look back at lunch at Chez Bruce as definitely something I was pleased to do and was quite nice to have the view of Wandsworth Common immediately opposite the restaurant. The set menu was good value, however, it was easily in the lower quadrant of all 1 Michelin stars for me as the flavours were fresh but simply dull. The prize and definite pleasing aspect though was the signature creamed thyme soup – this with the doughnut bread I have to say was extremely good and I would have actually preferred to have just this on reflection and not bothered with anything else. Admittedly only one lunch experienced here but did not produce a strong desire for me to head back anytime soon and the size of the interior is almost claustrophobic, even with the upstairs section available. Worth a visit only if one is passing.
Food Grade: 66%
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