I thought I had better blog my breakfast/ brunch at Bruno Loubet’s new bistro at the Zetter this morning as otherwise I wouldn’t be able to remember it. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it but just that I am not driven to go back there for lunch or dinner as I thought I would be. It was a bit of a nothing of an experience. In fact, my overwhelming feeling was that it was a wasted possibility of a visit to The Modern Pantry or the J&A Cafe which are both within a glimpse’s distance.
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It started well. The French service is of the efficient and charming type rather than the opposite variety you so often experience. The room is fantastically placed for relaxed dining. We were put in a great table by the window and could look out over the Georgian townhouses and almhouses which surround the Zetter.
The menu is also interesting. It promises a lot in a simple but yet slightly adventurous way. Putting aside the orange juice and the fresh Earl Grey we had (though the Earl Grey was particularly fragrant) the food was under seasoned and slightly irrelevant. Normally I review on the basis of that is good or not good. I don’t really think people want to hear a blow by blow breakdown of each bite of the meal and my thoughts on what flavour combinations worked and what didn’t but I think this warrants it…. well here goes.
I had the pea pancake with poached eggs. It sounded fantastic and looked similarly apposite. However, pea and egg have the same profile; they both have an earthiness about them. That is why you pair them with lemon, mint, ham, bacon etc.. Here the only attempt to do this was with some slivers of “French” bacon. They didn’t succeed. It needed a bit of acid (a squeeze of lemon or lime) or some fine mint sauce to lift it out of the mundane.
Jen had a traditional eggs Benedict. Again beautiful presentation, non existent taste. I have never seen Jen leave an eggs Benedict half finished before (especially after a night crawling around Dalston and failing to get into the Dalston Superstore). However, as I finished the second half I knew why she did. I was just plain bored. A thorough over seasoning from the nice Peugeot grinders on the table barely rescued it. Again for the food criticism: everything needed independent seasoning as it was being prepared, the bacon/ ham was “French” and barely present and the toast was without character and soul. The eggs Benedict at The Counter Cafe is streets ahead (here).
My toast with marmite on the side was good though.
This review is undoubtedly of the unforgiving variety but after having read the recent praise on Dos Hermanos (here) I thought I would try the breakfast/ brunch to see whether they could do the basics before moving onto lunch/ supper. They can, a bit. But it is nothing special. I just hope the big meals are better when I somewhat inevitably drift back there. Btw undoubtedly you will read a lot of reviews in the papers over the coming weekends of very recognisable reviewers having fantastic meals there. By all means enjoy the evocative writing but take it with a pinch of salt (as Bistro Bruno Loubet should do).
Price £35 for two for breakfast
PS for those who are not sure what “French” bacon is, this is a reference to the fact that the inventors of haute cuisine – ze French – have manifestly always failed to appreciate the joy and effect of “proper” bacon. It really isn’t complicated. Go to the Ginger Pig. Buy and taste.