What goes around comes around, or, to put it another way, there’s not much new under the sun. The classic Gallic brasserie is hardly a new and revolutionary idea, but (as we have noted before in these pages), it’s a format which – compared not just to Paris, but also to New York – has curiously fallen out of fashion in London in recent times. But a couple of recent openings – Galvin and St Julien (both reviewed here) – suggest that perhaps the brasserie is a concept whose time may be coming again.
And now along comes this Mayfair newcomer. It’s all the more interesting for being a re-launch of a more ambitious restaurant (Noble Rot), under the continuing ownership of Soren Jessen. This Danish ex-banker – owner of City-linchpin One Lombard Street – has demonstrated quite a nose for what the market wants.
The monochrome setting – enlivened by some Pop Art-style flower panels – admittedly doesn’t look that authentic, but, unlike many London ‘brasseries’, this place really is open all day (from 10am to midnight). Further authenticity points may also be awarded for a properly basic French menu, which – for once – places a due emphasis on seafood (sold’ by the kilo).
We had as classic a lunch as you could want, kicking off with a salade gourmande which actually lived up to its name. Other dishes were more humdrum. Kidneys were small and rather under-seasoned. Chips were not bad. Profiteroles lacked interest. The coffee was quite good. All in all the sort of lunch you might well hope to have in Paris for, say, â‚¬50 a head, even in a smart part of town. Here, of course, including a couple of glasses of wine, it was just over £50.