Chez Bruce

2 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth Common, London, England, SW17 7EG, United Kingdom

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Chef interview

Bruce Poole is head chef of Chez Bruce, which in 2007 was voted London's favourite restaurant in the annual Hardens Guide poll.

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The site seems to be bursting at the seams, and they have somehow crammed in three rows of tables into the limited space. Getting into your seat was like one of those children’s puzzles where you have to shift a block around by reshuffling many others. Fortunately service under David O'Connor (who later moved to Medlar) was slick and friendly.  The menu is fairly appealing, with nine starters and the same number of main courses, modern British in style. There were no amuse-bouche, and bread is a choice of either white or poilane-style slices.  The white bread is pleasantly seasoned and has good texture, while the poilane was rather ordinary (14/20 bread overall, the home-made white being better than the brown).

I began with smoked eel on a base of pickled beetroot, alongside which was a crab pancake with horseradish, with pea shoots to garnish. The eel was very good, the beetroot was an earthy foil to the distinctive taste of the eel. The crab pancake was pleasant though for me needed more crab, and the horseradish gave a pleasant spiciness that lifted the dish (16/20). Breast of guinea fowl was good, tender and cooked about right, though the texture of the potato gnocchi were a little over-soft, but the accompanying artichokes were excellent. This was served with good buttered cabbage and pears, which sounds odd but worked OK (16/20 if I ignore the gnocchi). 

Cheese, from Fromagerie and Neals Yard, was in good condition e.g. a ripe Munster (16/20). The dish that let the meal down was syllabub with blood orange jelly and macaroons. The syllabub was over-creamy, badly lacking in acidity to balance the cream, while the macaroons were extremely soggy in texture (11/20). Other desserts tried by my companions seemed very good e.g. roast spiced pineapple with Jamaican ginger cake and coconut sorbet, which tasted 16/20 level to me. Service was excellent and the wine list here is always a delight. 



Further reviews: 10th Nov 2017 | 23rd Apr 2011 | 02nd Apr 2007

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