Who is Bruce? I needed to find out as several people had spoken extremely highly of him whilst We’ve been on this BTNDC adventure.
Wandsworth Common. Early in February at 8.30 on a Thursday…… Bruce must be minting it if his place is packed on nights like this. Small, intimate, nice decor, we were clearly here for the culinary experience rather than some London flash. With this later sitting, a few of us were already a little intoxicated, pleasantly so, which I believe gave the impression to the staff that they, as well as us, were in for a fun friendly night!! Very warm, attentive, humorous right from the off (the staff that is!) …. And in my best French that I had been practicing all week, I found out that…. They were all Italian! Bruce…. Not sure still if he’s Australian or English, I was a little disappointed that French food didn’t come with French accents….. Minor detail as I still knew ‘ciao’ and ‘bella’ – enough to get me through the night.
The menu was quite brilliant…… “Thought Provoking” & “possibly the best menu we’ve had with appreciable complexity” …. My friends clearly punching above their weight in terms of food critique…. We all appreciated Bill’s “I’m hungry lets get stuck in” approach however!
With a round of Rhubarb Bellinis to continue our alcohol intoxication, as we perused the solid and not too pricy wine list, we were brought out a sleeve of gorgeous, hot, Parmesan bites….. Simple things work and put smiles on faces. Nice touch Bruce.
A selection of bread followed, the walnut option particularly nice, but…. And I’m sorry but this is a big BUT, the butter was hard! It’s not going to ruin anyone’s night, however, soft warm butter is one of life’s little luxuries.
The head chef, Matt Christmas, kindly then came to introduce himself to us, bringing more welcome goodies. No doubt still in full working mode from a tough fast evening in the kitchen, it was nice that he popped out. Funny and charming, although we cringed when Bill, who else, enquired to if he was ‘Bruce’? The goodies were a Scallop Sashimi dish….. Fabulous texture and taste…. Thanks Matt.
To begin I opted for the Sairass ricotta with blood orange, grilled fennel, finocchiona, basil and marjoram. Say that ten times quickly! …… Anyway it was ‘Tres Bon’!! The Broccoli tagliatelle with Sausage, as well as the lamb kidneys, were both apparently pretty good, however the special Mushroom Avocado salad was, in Mit’s view, ‘Magnifique!’.
The service continued with professionalism mixed with humour….. Our glasses were never empty, which was a good thing as we all enjoyed the white version of a red classic… Chateau Neuf Du Pape.
A taster interlude of Deep fried crispy battered mussels were brought out….. yet more awesomeness!…. Literally fighting over them!
Trying to decide between main courses at such great establishments is tough but somehow between us we always manage to choose a diverse selection…. This time from Bill & Mit’s obligatory Cote de Boeuf which was ‘excellent’ with amazing chips, to Shaf’s Anjou Pigeon .. ‘very good with great texture’, my Cassoulet of Duck again very tasty, finally to DC’s Pig Cheek which was ‘Amazing – tender and rich…. Up there with his best’.
The presentation was impeccable, and it is self explanatory why Bruce’s Place has a well deserved Michelin Star and continues to be one of London’s most favourite restaurants….. Not being in the city centre certainly helps I feel.
Every French restaurant needs to be backed up by a Cheeseboard of distinction…. Here was no different…. Served again with a smile to compliment her in depth knowledge, we had some lovely ones from cows to goats, tasty to downright stinky!….. ‘Unfortunately’ this accompanied several glasses of red thus I didn’t take any notes on what they were… I just merrily ate and drunk!
However, as Shaf and I indulged in our cheesy heaven, the Hot Chocolate Parfait was apparently stunning, whilst the Passion Fruit sorbet was ‘explosive and a taste sensation’ ….. I believe that’s a first for a sorbet but I’m grateful of quotes here as I’m running out of superlatives for Bruce!
Some opted for a whisky to seal the deal however it was noted that it wasn’t the best selection…. But if that’s one of the worse things about a French restaurant then I think we can let it off!
Bruce is obviously a lover of fine dining, particularly French, and someone who enjoys personal attention without the obnoxiousness of central London. He clearly has a good sense of humour too and likes being talked about, as I double dare anyone to dine at his place, without going home and telling anyone who’ll listen to go and experience a bit of Bruce for themselves! (Doesn’t that sound like I’m writing his tinder profile!?)
It begs the question…. Who the hell is Bruce?!!
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