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Brasserie Chavot in London - 1 Michelin star

Rating: 89.
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In 2009 French chef Eric Chavot surprised the London dining scene with the sudden announcement he would be leaving his position as head chef of The Capital Restaurant at the Capital Hotel. Chavot had been the head chef of the two-star restaurant for almost 10 years. Initially he wanted to take some time off to travel, but not long after his departure he became consulting chef for The Windsor Club, a private residential community in Florida, owned by the Weston Family (who also own Selfridges). When Eric Chavot announced early in 2013 that he was returning to the capital to open Brasserie Chavot, has was welcomed back with open arms, not only by London but also by Michelin, who awarded Brasserie Chavot a Michelin star in September 2013, only six months after the restaurant had opened its doors.

After a few years of training in France, Eric Chavot (b. 1967), moved to London in 1986 and started working as a chef at the Whites Hotel. After that, his career took him to a number of Britain's most renowned kitchens, such as Pierre Koffmann's restaurant La Tante Claire (two stars at the time) and Raymond Blanc's two-star Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons. In the early 90s he worked alongside Nico Ladenis (Chez Nico) and Marco Pierre White (Harvey's and The Restaurant at Hyde Park Hotel). In 1995 Eric Chavot opened his first solo-restaurant (with the backing of Marco Pierre White) called Interlude de Chavot. The restaurant got a Michelin star within 10 months after its opening. In 1997 he left Interlude de Chavot and became head chef/part owner of Fullham Road Restaurant, later on renamed to Chavot. In 1999 he signed up at The Capital Hotel and in the 2001 guide The Capital restaurant was awarded a second Michelin star.

Brasserie Chavot is open daily for lunch and dinner. The restaurant offers an a la carte menu and daily specials. I had lunch with my husband at Brasserie Chavot on Sunday 13 October 2013.

Lunch started with six rock oysters, served with the traditional accompaniments, and a lamb, pork and herb crepinette. A crepinette is a type of French sausage, wrapped in caul fat. Crepinettes are often served with freshly shucked oysters, but you rarely come across this combination outside of France. This crepinette was particularly nice and wonderfully juicy.

This was followed by Snails Bourguignon, meatballs and potato espuma. A glass dish with tender and very flavoursome snails and mini pork and herb meatballs, served in a rich and intense Bourguignon sauce, flavoured with parsley and bacon. All this was covered with a potato espuma, sprinkled with piment d'espelette. The espuma was wonderfully airy in texture, but had good, distinct potato flavours, and brought a delicate, light touch to this rich dish.

My main course was Choucroute garnie. A cast-iron saucepan filled with sauerkraut, potatoes and a selection of smoked sausages and meats, such as Montbéliard sausage, Morteau sausage, salted beef and belly pork. All the sausages and meats were well-cooked and the sauerkraut was nice and creamy. A gorgeous and refined, attractively dressed-up version of this traditionally rustic dish.

Dessert was a well-made prune and Armagnac clafoutis. The prunes had been soaked in the Armagnac, giving them a nice boozy touch. With the clafoutis came some delicious prune, caramel and Armagnac ice cream.

Final course: cheese to share.

Brasserie Chavot delivers exactly what it promises; classic French brasserie food, with the service and surroundings to match. The unique buzz and atmosphere of a French brasserie hits you as soon as you open the door. Chavot serves food with maximum flavour, cooked with skill and finesse. His upmarket versions of classics like Snails Bourguignon and Daube de Boeuf have quickly become signature dishes. When I revisited Brasserie Chavot in December 2013, the quality of the food was every bit as good as in October (with a stunning Côte de Porc deserving particular mention) so it looks like consistency is well secured too. Chavot has embraced the current trend towards traditional French cuisine and London has embraced Chavot. I wish every European capital a place like this.

Posted 25-01-2014


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