42 Gresham Street, EC2
Winos of the world unite – a new restaurant has opened in the city curated by wine lovers for wine lovers. Two master sommeliers, Xavier Rousset and Gearoid Devaney, opened Cabotte a couple of weeks ago to marry the cuisine and vineyards of Burgundy. All senior staff are former sommeliers in London restaurants and 12 Burgundy-based producers have invested in its authentic, regional concept.
Understated in dark green and gold on Gresham Street, its doorway makes an unassuming home for itself in between imposing behemoths like the Bank of China and Guildhall. The quiet, candle-lit drinking area at the front gives way to a plush red and dark wood dining room, populated with mirrors and leather banquettes – think typical 1920s Parisian bistro.
Rousset and Devaney brought Burgundy expert Jason Haynes on board to persuade local producers to get involved, while the food menu is the creation of Ed Boarland. The head chef is a protege of Gordon Ramsay’s, having worked at his eponymous restaurant in Chelsea, before ending up at The Trianon Palace in Versailles.
The menu is packed with French classics, but if you’re in a hurry, there’s a Plat du Jour option at lunchtimes that’s served up in under an hour. Other options include beef cheek bouguignon en cocotte, which isn’t as hearty as I would have liked, with its mash served in a separate ramekin prison – but it’s plenty tender, collapsing into a rich gravy at the slightest poke. For a lighter option, go for the stone bass and crab tartare (pictured above), or oysters, served with or without a glass of Chablis. The apple tarte tatin with Cornish clotted cream – the head chef’s favourite – manages to hit that sweet spot for Anglo-French relations.
BUSINESS OR PLEASURE?
Everything’s pretty cosy and romantic downstairs, but venture upstairs and you’ll find two sizeable private dining rooms. The Magnum Room is an intimate space, seating eight, with a salivating view of the chef’s pass, while the Jeroboam Room is more statesman-like, seating 18 around a mounted Smart TV.
NEED TO BOOK?
The staff were run off their feet, so expect this place to get busy fast. Book at cabotte.co.uk or call 0207 600 1616. For information on private dining packages, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A lively, slightly chaotic dining room that brings modern touches to classic French dining in a nostalgic setting. Service was a bit overstretched, but visitors are allowed plenty of time to enjoy the comprehensive wine list. With over 600 bottles to choose from, it’s a great place for oenophiles and probably one of the most well-stocked cellars in the City.
ONE MORE THING...
A cabotte is a small cottage where workers in vineyards would go to eat, drink and generally unwind.