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50-52 Sloane Square
020 7730 2804
If ever there was a corner of London that embraced the quintessence of central Paris, it’s Sloane Square – which makes it a perfect home for Messrs Corbin and King’s homage to the Gallic brasserie. From the black-and-white floor to art-deco flourishes and cream walls emblazoned with film posters, this spot has been fastidiously designed to look as if it’s been around for a lifetime. There’s the odd concession to current tastes on the all-day menu (crushed avocado on sourdough toast, say), but this is really a place for lovers of dyed-in-the-wool bistro cooking, from garlicky escargots and steak tartare to veal viennoise, herb-crusted hake with béarnaise sauce and desserts such as rum baba. Waiters in suited aprons are expertly drilled in the art of dutiful hospitality, while the oak bar is perfect for soaking up a Cognac or two. “Great local restaurant, buzzing from breakfast to midnight, love it”, says one fan. We wouldn’t argue with that.
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Pre and post-theatre dining
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50-52 Sloane Square
020 7730 2804
Sloane Square Tube Station 50m
Victoria Tube Station 976m
Royal Court Theatre 12m
Peter Jones 182m
Mon-Sun 8am-11pm (Fri-Sat -11.30pm Sun -10.30pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Like its sister restaurants, The Wolseley and The Delaunay, Cafe Colbert suffers from its excessive popularity. Whereas The Wolseley handles it with elegance and The Delaunay with considerable competence (it is a very large restaurant), Cafe Colbert simply cannot cope. This is the restaurant to go to if you like your London on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Should you be fortunate and coincide with the Japanese maitre d', then you are in luck as she runs the place like a tight ship. A good captain calms the crew. Should you not see her when you walk in, don't stay. By all means be considerate and decline your booking. This is a popular restaurant. Be firm, claim sudden illness and quickly dash elsewhere.
The food is good as is the layout of the tables. The place is charming in its decoration. It could be a fun and vibrant place where one can have a wonderful time. However, an atmosphere of staff running about bug-eyed and on the verge of hysteria will gradually get to you. The last time I was there for lunch, my guest and I left panting.
I have not been for breakfast, but friends tell me that breakast is the ideal time for the Colbert. My family and I have had tea there as well and it was excellent and (for the Colbert) reasonably relaxed. Time has now passed since its opening when it replaced the much-loved Oriel. Rather than growing comfortable in its skin the Colbert seems to be getting worse. This morning I tried to book by telephone for lunch in two weeks. I was told that the computer was down. I could either call in two days or go personally and "try to book". I was polite (with difficulty) and said nothing. However, it will be a while before Cafe Colbert sees me again. The alternatives around Sloane Square are legion.
A great bonus to the SW1 and 3 eating scene. We went for a pre-theatre meal and it was thoroughly enjoyable as all the restaurants are in this group, good food well served in a delightful ‘French brasserie’ style room. Lovely.
Food + drink: 3
Sloane Square manages to be one of the most outwardly pretty yet utterly vacuous London addresses and at 5 to six on a late week workday night, also seems to be home to more arseholes per square foot than a builders bum convention.
Within seconds of leaving the tube I've been buffeted by a spry fool in a pinstripe oblivious to anything but a night on the ‘lesh’ with the boys ("on my way down the King's Road now squire, you'll spot me, I'm looking seriously sexy tonight") and watched as some infernal permatanned, pashmina clad princesses did her level best to get knocked over by one of the smug Astons prowling the Square by waltzing straight in front of it assuming that it would (like everything else in life) fit around her.
After that Colbert was a warm buzzing welcome. While a number of the arseholes had inevitably found their way indoors to loudly complain about the paucity of the residents parking in Ken and Chelski, there was enough space for me to slip unobserved onto a stool at the handsome marble bar. It's a classy old fashioned sort of space that, with its comfortable booths and waistcoated French staff feels like it has been there since way before George Devine reopened the Court next door in 1952.
In actual fact, it's been there for less than 2 years, when uber-restaurateurs Jeremy King and Chris Corbin took advantage of a famous tiff between the landlord and previous tenants Oriel in which the latter were booted out following a terrible meal experienced by the Earl of Cadogan and his family. Most people would have just refused to leave a tip.
Service is friendly, prompt and efficient (perhaps mindful of the fate of their predecessors) and it'd be hard not to recommend the location at least as a great spot for dinner before a show at nearby Cadogan Hall or the Court. The food was fine brasserie fare, though maybe just without quite the oomph I'd been hoping for.
Mini house baguettes were toasty warm spears of delight, built for scooping up thick butter, ideally the garlicky sort I'd been hoping for along with my starter of l'escarcots. The snails were plump, mild and inoffensive little fellows, like schoolboys from a minor public school. Their buttery bed was pleasant enough, though not a patch on the earthily vulgar bunch I got mugged by at Zedels. Admittedly though, these ones didn't make you feel that you'd be growling parsley and garlic at people during interval drinks.
A Salad Nicoise was fine, but much less than the sum of its parts. Most of those parts were excellent, with the exception of a lump of slightly dry tuna, but it was difficult to ignore the keen £17.50 price point for a handful of haricots vert and an, admittedly perfectly cooked, egg.
The rest of the menu is textbook grand brasserie, with moules, confits and a section for crustacia. Plus plats du jour, all day dejeuner and some rather exciting looking patisserie to finish and you can breakfast all day or lunch from noon until night. If I'm in the area I just well might do either, or both. And it'd be the ideal place for your slightly risqué maiden aunt, just make sure she's paying.
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