By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
“Would you like me to pair some Wine with your chosen courses, monsieur?” our zealously competent sommelier asks of us upon ordering our meals. And although having already partaken in a few pre-dinner drinks at next door’s rather luxurious Polo Bar that’s situated within The Westbury Hotel, in the spirit of eating out, the sommelier’s offer does seem hard (and slightly rude) to refuse. Yet as is – thankfully – proven during our visit to May Fair’s Brasserie Chavot, it’s not just the expertly chosen Wine selection that’s impressive.
Having opened its doors in the spring of 2013, celebrated chef Eric Chavot’s latest London outpost, just a stone’s throw from the busy Oxford Circus and Regent Street, delivers a surprisingly relaxed environment. The décor is inexplicably French with its warm red tonal palette, tiled floors and opulent chandeliers, which meets the ideal middle-ground between sophisticated and unpretentious, and components such as the attentive yet non-intrusive staff, the perfect music volume that’s not too loud, yet sets a comforting atmosphere while drowning out nearby conversations, not forgetting the French-inspired menu, all contribute to making Brasserie Chavot a venue that’s ideal for almost every occasion.
As for the menu, the Michelin-starred chef prides the restaurant on using only the finest produce that’s sourced from the British Isles and France. The specials of the evening of our visit include starters such as simple roasted Asparagus that’s currently in season and works delightfully with its accompanying Parmesan foam, a Pea, Feta and Pesto Salad that tastes and looks incredibly fresh, presented upon a white dish that accentuates the dish’s vibrant green hues, topped with slithers of red chilli to add an extra kick. However, it’s the deep-friend Soft Shell Crab starter (£12.50) that really gets us talking. Served simply upon a thick chopping board, the Crab is crispy and salty while retaining none of the grease from the fryer, joined by a slightly spiced Aioli to accompany.
Meanwhile, the mains on offer are just as decadent. The Canette Rôtie Forestière (£27.50) is good, but difficult to eat having been served atop another chopping board with lashings of gravy that escape onto the tabletop, and the breast – although cooked medium-rare – is slightly tough. However, the dish’s confit leg is delicious and the Garlic sautéed potatoes are absolutely astounding. As for my partner’s Roasted Cod with Peas à la Française (£24.50), the Fish is cooked well and the surprise crispy Bacon topping awards a whole new dimension of texture and taste to the already enjoyable main.
By the time that the mains are completed, most would struggle to find the intestinal capacity to accommodate dessert, as did we. However, it’s almost impossible to dismiss a dessert menu that includes Rum Baba (£9.50), as neither of us could resist. Served alongside some paper-thin Pineapple, which cleanses the palate and refreshes, alongside providing the perfect partner for the dark Rum filled syrupy sponge, washed down with a glass of deliciously sweet Sauternes wine which – along with the overall experience at Brasserie Chavot – leaves us feeling remarkably satisfied as we finish our meals and stumble off into the night.
Brasserie Chavot can be found at 41 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2YF.