SquareMeal Review of
“Brilliant”, “exceptional” and “fantastic” are just a few of the superlatives showered on the Michelin-starred mother of all neighbourhood restaurants, an enduring fixture that “never lets you down”. We agree with the plaudits. This place has real polish and Bruce Poole’s kitchen is right on the money, delivering “beautifully crafted plates of vibrant and colourful food” in the modern European tradition. A starter of warm Jerusalem artichoke salad dressed with melted Comté cheese, Roscoff onions, bitter leaves and pecan nuts hints at complexity, though most mains are essentially quite simple – think cuttlefish risotto with king prawns, poached fennel, chilli and parsley or poached short-rib of beef served with a vegetable broth, tortellini and a spicy kick of chimichurri. To conclude, desserts shine brightly in the shape of, say, buttermilk pudding with warm madeleines and fresh mirabelle plums or a reborn rum baba with crème Chantilly and pineapple, while the stupendous cheeseboard is worth ordering for the “accompanying commentary” alone. Some might argue that Chez Bruce is a 90s throwback, but there should always be a place for gutsy Euro-accented haute cuisine and exemplary wine service at “south-west” prices.