Contemporary French cuisine made with quality ingredients sourced from the British Isles and France? It’s a gorgeous idea – especially when executed by a capable chef such as Eric Chavot. A recent opportunity to taste my way through much of the menu at Brasserie Chavot proved a veritable feast of epic flavour and subtle finesse.
Were those the tastiest and tenderest lamb cutlets I’ve ever had? Maybe! They were certainly the yummiest I’ve had in recent memory (not to mention the most tender) and reason enough for me to crave any chance to return to Brasserie. I could pretty much rave to the same degree about the peas and octopus salad, the soft shell crab, the cassoulet (that gorgeous pork and duck cassoulet!) … all that I had the pleasure to taste actually, as each dish wowed my eager palate, insisting I have at least one more bite.
Two star Michelin chef Eric Chavot has designed the menu to please with gourmand aplomb for his Mayfair brasserie. But there’s plenty of subtle charm involved as well, and a hearty appetite here is to be rewarded with finely prepared dishes suitable for the most finicky of gourmet tastes. To be embarrassingly honest, I’m not quite certain what it was about Eric’s cooking that elevated his food to such a level of haute delectability, but whatever it was it resulted in one of the best meals I’ve had this year. Everything had a detectable but not quite discernible something about it to make just a tad bit more moreish than expected. To be sure, I’m keen to get to the bottom of what this man is doing right!
Of course, Eric and his kitchen can’t take all the credit for the wonderful experience I had. Head sommelier, Andreas Rosendal worked Chavot’s menu like a breeze incorporating a fantastic list of wines to accompany each item. I especially loved kicking the tasting off with a 2012 ”Mica” vinho verde from Quinta Da Palmirinha – and reckoned Andreas’ decision to commence on a perk and Portuguese note was a confident assertion.
Then again, maybe it was the space? The upscale brasserie setting with its tiled mosaic floors, chandeliers, and plush seating more removed from the street than typical for a lot of Central London eateries, was the sort of place to linger as long as possible with more ‘grounded’ elements like the colourful and haphazardly arranged (as in actually used) shelf of cookbooks in plain sight ‘kept it real’ and suggested however fancy the restaurant was the focus was squarely on presenting amazing food.
On a down note (which I hate to bring it up but it would be a disingenuous oversight if I didn’t), service was at times a teensy bit wonkier than I would have expected at such a lovely venue - uncertainty over when/who to serve what/where … stuff like that. This was unfortunate as virtually everything else about my experience was utterly splendid. I assume it was an anomaly. By no means would it prevent me from returning to the brasserie, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t distract you from taking my recommendation to enjoy what I found to be one of the best bets for a fantastic meal in London.
Brasserie Chavot is located right next to The Westbury Hotel (indeed you can access the hotel and its Polo Bar from the restaurant) at 41 Conduit Street, W1S 2YF. Find out more at brasseriechavot.com.