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Harden's survey result
“Fair all-round, if by no means special” is a justifiable, if slightly harsh verdict on Raymond Blanc’s contemporary brasserie chain, whose branches are generally handy and well-appointed, and whose EC2 and SE1 outlets are often voted as “a decent place for a business meet up/dinner”. If it were not “trading on the name” of one of the country’s most famous chefs, its “reasonable” level of cooking might seem more laudable and less “formulaic”.
Even if it’s not “the most gastronomic option”, Raymond Blanc’s contemporary brasserie chain does have fans who laud its “pleasant” branches, and “reliable, routine French cuisine”. Critics take a similar view but from a glass-half-empty standpoint: “no big complaints, but the value-for-money is low and service so-so”.
‘Brasserie Bland’ would unfortunately be a better title for Raymond Blanc’s modern brasserie chain. To be sure there are less enjoyable standbys out there, and for an “OK pre-theatre meal” they could be worse, but the fare is “formulaic” and “the ambience AWOL”.
“How does Raymond Blanc put his name to cooking of this quality?” This bland modern brasserie chain does have its fans as a business standby, but “it’s gone downhill” in recent times – the food can be “very ordinary”, service “perfunctory” and “there’s no sense of emotional ownership”.
Last orders: 10.30 pm