Friday, 13 August 2010
Brasserie Blanc, 71-72 Walton Street Oxford OX2 6AG
One of our good friends recently got married in Oxford, and took us out for a great meal after the registration ceremony. So, I don’t know the prices of any of these things, but I’m sure the website will tell you a whole lot more.
Brasserie Blanc is kinda like the lighter version of Raymond Blanc’s other restaurant, The Manoir. While I’ve not dined at The Manoir, I can say that the food at the Brasserie Blanc is reaaaal fine. So much so that despite having only had Nando’s, greek coffee and some carrot cake two hours before this meal, I kinda ate almost everything from the three-course menu, and then wanted the meal to start all over again.
Located on Walton Street, the Brasserie is well-placed among other restaurants and bars, and, surprisingly, most of them weren’t of the high-street chain variety. While Monsieur Blanc does have other similar restaurants in locations across the country, it’s not one I’d heard of before, so I wouldn’t deem this to be high-street chain, not just yet.
We had a group of about 25, and the restaurant had allocated a long stretch of the side of the restaurant just for us. Despite telling us that we had to be in by 6.45pm, and out by 8pm, they were most accommodating to us, and we finally only started our meal at about 7.30pm (when all the guests had arrived), and left at about 9.30pm. Not a frown from them, but when they finally started to clear the end of our adjoining tables, we got the hint and left.
Table all set, with bread baskets at the ready.
Olive oil on the tables, but it would have been nice if we’d been given plates for the bread as one of us wanted to have the oil with the bread, but had no where to pour the oil onto, aside from the table.
Someone ordered this, the bf, maybe. Summer minestrone - and even though it was the best looking version of the dish I’ve seen, it’s just not that … mmmmm-ish, is it. Kinda like, if someone ordered this, you wouldn’t exactly be going, ‘Man I wish I ordered that.’ Nope.
He said it was quite nice though. I’ll take his word for it.
This was my celeriac salad, shallot & poached egg - so mouth-wateringly delicious I want to have it all over again. The egg was poached to wobbly perfection, and the celeriac … oh the celeriac.
It was spicy, crunchy, tangy, slightly naughty (mayo maybe?) and when the yolk drizzled all over it, it just formed the best mouthful ever.
We thought that one of the kids would be turning up but they decided to stay over at a friend’s place instead, so the chicken and chips dish that was ordered for the little ‘un came to us hungry ‘uns instead.
This was another of my dishes - confit pork collar, caraway cabbage, roast tomato sauce. The pork required some masterful cooking, and that was exactly what it got. Slow-cooked to perfection, the meat was so tender and flavourful, each mouthful a delicate blend of taste and texture. The sauce sat beneath the meat like a little happy camper, basking in the glory of the meat, and the potatoes … boy were they fantastic when dipped ever so slightly in the sauce.
Summer vegetable risotto – same comments as per the minestrone. Might look nice, but I’m not gonna wanna try your dish, so thanks but you go ahead and enjoy it.
Cold poached salmon, new potatoes, lemon mayonnaise – good reviews so it must have been nice, though not as nice as the pork, I’m sure. It’s a tough one to compete against.
Poached apricots vanilla ice cream. Apricots I just don’t get. It’s a little bit like a peach but not as tender, and tastes slightly … hmmm? This was poached well though, and made it more tender.
Chocolate marquise, hazelnut custard. A terrine of chocolate, with a centre of almost pure chocolate. Really enjoyed this although the outer bit could have been less soggy. Somehow, because the middle bit was just so chocolatey, it was slightly weird having to get to the chocolate through the soggy sponge. I still enjoyed it very much though.
Thanks so much to MH and EK for the wonderful meal, which we thoroughly enjoyed. The best bit was the company though, so here’s wishing you both a very happy marriage!
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