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9 D'Arblay Street
This quirky slice of rural France offers twists on the classics in a homely setting featuring cottage furniture and flamboyant pastoral scenes painted on tiled walls. Meanwhile, the private dining room downstairs takes it to another level, with its murals depicting a jungle scene. The mid-priced menu offers a range of seasonal small plates peppered with European influences: smoked mussels are paired with black pudding and artichoke purée; a combo of monkfish and pumpkin sparkles with buttery flavours, undercut by the zing of sun-dried tomatoes, while carnivores might veer towards braised lamb shoulder with anchovy, rosemary and soubise sauce. A varied selection of French charcuterie and cheese invites a wine-focused visit, supported by a carefully curated Gallic list that makes room for some Spanish and Italian tipples. It's all very amiable and charming, right down to the cow-shaped milk jugs. With a couple of street tables and a front window that can be opened completely, Blanchette was built for languorous summery days.
Best French Restaurants in London
Best in Soho
9 D'Arblay Street
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station 288m
Oxford Circus Tube Station 358m
Oxford Street Youth Hostel 141m
Marks & Spencer Pantheon (Oxford Street) 148m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Blanchette does a pretty damn good job at making French food cool. The restaurant, located in trendy Soho, is about as far away from one’s traditional perceptions of the gastronomic experience a la Francaise as possible. In my childhood, French cooking was mostly considered the apogee of the culinary world, typically served by snooty waiters who looked down their noses at diners whom they had the privilege of serving. An alternative perception would be more along the lines of the haphazard café operated by René in ‘Allo ‘Allo. Blanchette is neither of these. While the interior of the restaurant does have rustic charm along the lines of a more traditional French bistro, the music is cool, the servers attractive and attentive and the menu simple yet innovative. Our group of five enjoyed every moment of a recent dinner and would certainly return. To begin, our table shared a number of starters. Each pleased, but of particular note would be the Blanchette take on frogs’ legs. This was a long way from the slightly unpleasant experience vaguely reminiscent of chicken and often drowned in a garlic cream sauce that I recall from French establishments in days gone-by. Here, the legs were lightly cooked in breadcrumbs and then dipped in Bois Boudran sauce, a slightly spice version of ketchup. Presentation and interpretation throughout was innovative. I opted for a grilled pork belly as my main, wonderfully juicy and succulent. My comrades all praised their choices too and as a benchmark test for any French restaurant, Blanchette’s steak was given full marks by one of our group. We finished with a lovely selection of cheeses, all interesting and full of flavour. With keen prices across the board (including a very satisfying Cote du Rhone at £32/bottle), there is little not to like.
Food + drink: 5
Just visited this place for the first time today and what a gem it is.
Fabulous small plates ideal for sharing. Amazing flavours, Daube of pig cheeks a highlight.
Great wine list: short, uncomplicated, and plenty available by the glass or carafe.
Max the owner knows what he's doing. Cannot wait to return.
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