Blanc Space | Brasserie Blanc Tower of London, 14 Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AA
There are three things that we long to find at each restaurant we visit, but rarely do – good food, great service and a relaxed ambience. Not too much to ask for you’d think, that is what restaurants should set out to do after all. These attributes were well and truly covered this week…
My friend Keith and I spent a lovely three hours at the freshly spruced up Brasserie Blanc by the Tower of London. There’s quite a few of Raymond Blanc‘s BBs and it’s the first time either of us have set foot inside one.
I had wrongly presumed it would be like going to Jamie’s Italian instead of Fifteen, but I stand corrected. BB is good, makes Raymond’s food accessible and it doesn’t cost the earth either. The website says ‘Our desire is to be French restaurants at their very best. Every brasserie feels authentic and as warm and welcoming as Maman Blanc’s home’. This kind of talk normally puts me right off but it was bang on. Obviously I’ve not been actually been to Maman Blanc’s home but you get what I’m saying.
I often rate restaurants on whether or not I could happily take my dad there. He likes friendly, quiet places and, for some reason that he still won’t explain, he detests menus. I could definitely take my dad here and I almost kicked myself for not inviting him (no offence Keith).
We sat at a slightly elevated curved banquette table that overlooks the restaurant and if we looked over our shoulders out of the window, we were treated to views of the Tower of London. I don’t know what it looked like before but the room looks fab now – muted grey walls, warm lighting, geometric floor tiles and simple yet, timeless tableware.
First of all I thought the massively warm welcome that we received may have been because we were there to review. But as we watched carefully from our raised position throughout the duration of our meal, it was clear they’re just very really good at their jobs, they’re like it with everyone.
We only tried one cocktail each – a not very tart but still lovely Melon Sour (£6.75), chosen purely because I’ve never seen a melon sour before. Keith rated his Dark n’ Stormy (£6.75), great priced cocktails too and no piddly sized glasses. If you’re there between 5pm and 7pm, Monday to Friday take advantage of ‘Tower Hour’ (£5 cocktails).
My starter of Warm squid and chorizo salad (£6.90) served with finely sliced chicory and a tangy orange dressing totally bowled me over. This was Keith’s first choice as a starter too so he went for the Scottish queen scallops in a tomato butter (£8.50) instead, far too buttery for my taste buds but he enjoyed.
I knew what main I was having straight away and quietly prayed in my head that Keith didn’t have his eye on the same thing. I had stolen his choice of starter so I kind of owed it to him to have his say for the next course.
I was safe, the Boeuf bourguignon (£16.50) was to be mine. I’ve been hankering after food like this since returning from Villefranche and facing the grotty British weather. It arrived as an entire slab of meat sat atop the mash rather than chunks of beef, it was just as tender as it should be and the rich red wine sauce so comforting.
Keith went for Steak frites (£19.50) which can often be quite dull with mediocre cuts of meat so I was a little nervous. This was the best either of us have had, thanks to the 9oz rump steak used and washing it down with a glass of Minervois Château Maris Organic Syrah (£8.60 for a large glass).
Red wine and meat is a sure-fire winner to satisfy any man (or woman). I went for a glass of Bordeaux. Château Haut Roudier (£8.25), sucked in by the ‘Berries. Cherries. Soft.’ description on the menu.
Keith described the Chocolate soufflé (£8.50) as ‘chocolate air’, I get where he was coming from – it was powder soft and as light as a feather. My Lemon parfait with raspberries (£7.50) from the specials menu was the only dessert I could cope with as my belly was bursting (shouldn’t have had the bread). Icey shards of tangy lemon and fresh raspberries hit the spot so much I could have managed another.
We’d normally be out the door as soon as dessert is done but Keith talked me into having a glass or two of Sandeman Tawney port (£5.60) and before I knew it was 10pm, closing time and we were pretty much the last ones in there. Now that’s what I call feeling at home, I bet it’s like that in Maman Blanc’s gaff too.
14 Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AA
Telephone: 020 7480 5500
Book a table online
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 8.30 – 10pm
Saturday: 8.30 – 3.30pm Sunday: Closed
Nearest station: Tower Hill (2 mins walk)
We ate as guests of Brasserie Blanc, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.