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Brasserie Blanc, Covent Garden: review

Dine en famille with fine French dishes for all the family, courtesy of celebrity chef Raymond Blanc

Posted: 24 April 2013
by Catherine O'Dolan

Dine in the pretty atrium of Brasserie Blanc, Covent Garden
Brasserie Blanc boasts a prime position in Covent Garden's Piazza

AT THE OPENING soirée for the Covent Garden branch of his restaurant, affable Gallic chef Raymond Blanc was practically wiping a tear from his eye as he fondly reminisced coming to London as a young man, and visiting the famous Piazza and dreaming that one day he would be the proud proprietor of an eaterie slap bang in the most prized spot, elevated above the  streets. And dreams can come true – especially when they are coupled with a healthy dollop of gastronomic talent and a lot of hard graft. As you’d expect, the ambiance chez Raymond is decidedly French, with waiters nattering away in the native tongue and offering “ze menu” with suitable signature  accents.
As a family man (he has two grown-up sons) and an advocate for en famille dining, Raymond caters amply for young guests, with not one but three menus for children: for Bébé Blanc, there is free organic carrot purée;  Petit Blanc, for up to eight years, has a choice of grilled chicken, fishcakes, salads or macaroni cheese, followed by ice cream and sorbet for £5.95, while Jeune Blanc caters for tweenies with half-portion, half-price dishes from the à la carte menu. Skipping starters – you can have escargots in garlic if you fancy it – we opted for fillet steak and frites, pan-fried cod fillet with rather intriguing prawn potatoes, and Raymond’s fishcakes for the littl’un in our party. On a busy Friday afternoon pre Christmas, the restaurant was pretty packed with the office party crowd, but the service was still attentive and the food arrived swiftly and was tasty – except for the frites, which were not quite golden and crispy enough for our liking (I think Raymond would have agreed). When we mentioned it, the frites were promptly replaced with a super-crisp substitute that perfectly hit the spot.
For dessert, we had ice cream and toffee pudding, but we couldn’t resist trying the Brasserie Blanc flamed baked Alaska (for two) £13.50, which arrived with ceremony at our table, was doused in Grand Marnier by the waiter and set alight. The children watched the spectacle with wide-eyed awe, which turned to giggles  as  the waiter attempted to fan out the flames and his napkin caught fire, eliciting a rather shocked “oh la la”. A perfect finale: we love a bit of drama 
Brasserie Blanc, 35 Clare Market, London WC2E 8RF, tel: 020 7379 0666; open daily midday–11pm.

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