Harden's survey result
“A slice of Paris in Sloane Square”, this hugely popular brasserie rendezvous is “great for people-watching” and its “atmospheric” faux-period decor evokes “a gallery of film noir scenes”. But while it’s incredibly convenient for those out-and-about in Chelsea, or visiting a production at The Royal Court, there’s something slightly transitory about the experience that makes it the least engaging of Corbin & King’s ventures. Even fans concede its Gallic brasserie fare is “not exceptional” or that it feels like “a treadmill that verges on a money-making machine rather than a relaxed venue”. Top Tip – “they do breakfast just right”.
“A magnificent location on the corner of Sloane Square” is the crown jewel feature of this “bustling” Parisian-style brasserie, whose “position right near the tube makes it so easy for a business appointment”; and where breakfasting marks “a civilised start to the day”. This is still the weakest runner in the Corbin & King stable however, with Gallic brasserie fare that can be of “Cafe Rouge/airport lounge quality”, and sometimes “snooty” service. Fans are un-moved though: “formulaic it may be, but it’s still the best people watching site in London and a great local hangout!”
“There’s plenty of buzz” at Corbin & King’s “busy” Parisian-style brasserie on a prime Sloane Square corner. A “reliable breakfast” is its highest claim to culinary fame though – otherwise its “competent but unexciting” fodder and “erratic service” make it a handily situated but “underwhelming” destination.
The dud of the Corbin & King stable – a prime, Sloane Square corner-location ensures this handsome Parisian-brasserie-style haunt is “always buzzing”, but “they need to get a grip”: the classic fare is “so uneven” (some dishes are “a total failure”) and service is too often “bored and lackadaisical”.
|Wine per bottle||£26.50|
The former Oriel (RIP) site on Sloane Square, relaunched by 'the Wolseley boys' as an immediately-successful Gallic brasserie of a high standard; service, though, was decidedly slow, on our visit a few weeks after opening.
Earl Cadogan does not believe in 'absentee' landlord-ism. Oriel, the former occupant of this prominent Sloane Square site, had the temerity to serve his lordship a below-par meal' and, when the lease came up for review, was duly given marching orders.
And so it was that the word went out throughout restaurant-land that one of the peachiest sites in Christendom was up for grabs. Given the starting point for the process, it was perhaps inevitable that it would end with the appointment of London's 'gentlemen-restaurateurs' - Chris Corbin and Jeremy King - to take the site over.
(It is pure conjecture, but we like to think the Earl may have excluded Richard Caring from the running on suspicion of having 'bought his own furniture' - can it be coincidence that a new branch of Côte has recently sprung up, just across the square?)
Corbin and King have turned the site into perhaps London's most convincing pastiche of a Parisian local brasserie, with the different rooms carefully designed to look dissimilar, as if the premises had accreted over the years, Ã la franÃ§aise, rather than being created as a whole.
Why go to all this trouble, though, if you're not going to throw in a bit of 'distress' (Ã la Balthazar, NYC)? The resulting impression is all too smart - an impression abetted by all-enveloping linen tablecloths, which are ridiculously grand for a brasserie.
This flummery, though, does nothing to keep the noise levels within reasonable bounds - we suspect the quite mature and traditional crowd the place attracts (think Sloane Rangers, thirty years on) would mostly appreciate being able to talk across a table. We gave up trying.
The service isn't quite there yet either. It is often observed that it is odd that Corbin and King - who have a deserved reputation for the level of service their restaurants ultimately attain - never quite seem to hit the ground running, and this was certainly the case on our visit (even though it was a few weeks after opening). Despite the legions of helpful, charming and smartly turned-out staff, each stage of our simple cold supper took an age to come, which is just what you don't want in a local brasserie.
When it finally came, though, our simple meal was very good. The bread batons were well up to group standards, and such classics as prawn cocktail, oysters (rather small, number 4s?), and salads of endive and Roquefort, and chicken, were all very well done and elegantly presented.
It would be fair to say, though, that prices give nothing away. His lordship, we suspect, won't mind about that.
51 Sloane Sq, London, SW1W 8AX
|Monday||8 am‑11 pm|
|Tuesday||8 am‑11 pm|
|Wednesday||8 am‑11 pm|
|Thursday||8 am‑11 pm|
|Friday||8 am‑11 pm|
|Saturday||8 am‑11 pm|
|Sunday||8 am‑10 pm|