3rd March 2017 7.30pm
Côte was bustling on our visit but this French Brasserie had a relaxed feel. We sat in the front part of the restaurant but the place goes back quite a long way, so the relatively small restaurant front is deceptive. Drinks were ordered and we decided what to eat. I went for the steak tartare (regular readers will not be surprised to hear) followed by the lamb shank with a side of carrots. My friends went for the beetroot salad followed by rib eye steak and the chicken liver parfait followed by a fillet steak.
Almost immediately we were given a pea soup, served in a small glass as an amuse bouche. This was a nice surprise. However, we had barely started eating these when our starters arrived, which was a bit odd. So we finished our soup whilst our starters were sitting in front of us. My tartare came with two nice pieces of bread and the tartare itself was a great texture and tasted good. The capers and cornichons were zingy. I would have preferred to have had the egg on top rather than mixed in though as somehow the richness that the yolk brings was a little lost. I was given Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce to put on my tartare too. I can’t make up my mind whether that was good so it could be adjusted to my preference or whether this was just because the chef couldn’t commit to how the tartare should taste. The beetroot salad looked beautiful and came with hazelnuts and a crème fraiche and goats cheese dressing. The parfait was going down a storm (my photo is too poor for this review). This came in a pot, with two slices of brioche and a spiced apple chutney. The only complaint that there was too much parfait to finish. It was certainly a starter I had a little envy over.
Onto the mains. One steak has been ordered with peppercorn sauce and one with béarnaise but it turned out that both arrived with peppercorn sauce (luckily in a tiny jug). When we asked the waiter to fix this he found out that the kitchen had run out of béarnaise. This is a little worrying as the sauce has a simple ingredient list so they shouldn’t run out. Additionally, why didn’t the kitchen communicate this to the waiter at the time of ordering? My friend had the option of changing her sauce for another but in the end decided to stick with the peppercorn. My side order of carrots also had to be chased. Our waiter was good and ran around for us but it seemed not to be his fault. Anyway, once we finally got to eating our mains, we really enjoyed them. My lamb shank was tender and fell off the bone. The accompanying mustard potato purée was nice although perhaps a smidgen salty for my palate but I would imagine would be fine for most people. The veal and rosemary sauce was delicious. The carrots were worth waiting for as they had beautiful flavour and still had a lovely firmness about them. The steaks around the table were being thoroughly enjoyed. They both came with salad and frites. Plates were emptied as happy noises emanated from the two of them.
We couldn’t fit in dessert so stuck to coffees and liqueurs. The bill came with an automatic tip on which was a little cheeky considering there was only three of us.
Côte was generally nice but needs to pull its socks up if it’s going to do well in such a competitive dining market.
Food – 7.5/ 10
Service – 6.5/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 7/10
Overall – 29/40
Would I eat here again? Maybe but I am going to definitely leave it for a while
Cost £150 for three starters and mains, a glass of champagne, a glass of blanc de blancs brut, a vodka and cranberry juice, one bottle of red wine, two espressos, two baileys and a Drambuie. This includes an automatic tip