By Jonathan Hatchman Food Editor
Single menu restaurants have become quite trendy in London over recent years. A steady stream of exciting new restaurant openings offering an extremely limited choice menu allowing them to focus on just one or two signature dishes as opposed to flapping around a hectic kitchen while adding various inattentive touches to a wide variety of, sometimes, sub-par dishes. With eateries such as Burger & Lobster, Arancini Brothers and Flat Iron having enjoyed irrefutable success surrounding their limited choices, Chez Boubier is the latest one-dish wonder to catch our eye.
However, the restaurant’s choice of either steak and fries, steak and fries, is far from a mere passing craze. The newly opened London outpost actually stems from Geneva’s 85 year-old Café De Paris, influencing protégé chef Chez Boubier’s restaurant concept, hugely, which offers a L’entrecôte menu that seems simple, at first, yet has to be experienced to be truly appreciated.
Located just a short walk from Harrods and the Victoria & Albert museum in Knightsbridge there’s a romantic ambience offered by the restaurant with its low lighting and abundance of tables for two, each set with its own gas assisted warmer which comes in handy when the main course arrives. But first, after a warm greeting from the restaurants helpful waiting staff, we’re directed to a window seat within the strangely vacant dining area. It seems like only a matter of moments before the starters arrive (which is the real beauty of the predetermined set menu). On paper, the simple green salad does seem underwhelming, yet the pleasant surprise is delivered, in the form of the dishes refreshing vinaigrette dressing, providing a great example of “what’s less is more”.
Soon followed by the main event, the L’Entrecôte sirloin steaks, which are Scotland’s finest, delivered to the table in tray that’s placed onto the table top tea light warmer that melts the restaurant’s World famous butter to form a scrumptious sauce. Served alongside a portion of French fries, brushed with the butter before being plated, yet the real highlight of the whole meal was the butter, exceeding our already high expectation. In fact, it was so special that the often poorly replicated sauce alone was worth at least the whole cost of the first two courses (24.50), especially transported from Geneva’s original Café De Paris, treated as precious cargo and delivered from door-to-door every six weeks.
As for the Scottish sourced steak, it was paired marvellously with the rich butter sauce (as well as crisp fries of which up to three portions are offered to diners) was sliced thin, remarkably tender seasoned perfectly, cooked ever-so-slightly rarer than ordered, albeit still delicious, accompanied by a bottle of French Syrah Son Excellence (£19) – Chez Boubier’s house red wine – with silky tannins and a fresh red berry taste that lingers and accentuates the richness of the butter soaked steak almost perfectly. All washed down with the evening’s dessert special – a light apple tart (£5.50) served with a scoop of mango sorbet: another combination that works unpredictably well.
We’d be lying to say that you’re spoilt for choice at Chez Boubier, but the restaurant would provide the perfect meal for the indecisive and the pushed for time go-getter. It’s just not so fitting for the Vegetarian community or those less fond of a sublime steak-frite feast.