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.