The chicest place to dine on London's South Bank
Where? Brasserie Joël, First Floor, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London, SE1 7UT (020 7620 7272, www.brasseriejoel.co.uk)
Who’s Joel when he’s at home (or hotel, as the case may be)? Celebrated, Michelin-starred chef Joël Antunes was born in France, but earned his stripes at British kitchens such as The Connaught and Le Manoir aux QuatSaison, before heading overseas more than a decade ago to work in Tokyo, Bangkok and New York, where he won plaudits for his eponymous restaurant, Joël.
And what lured Monsieur back? The brand new kitchens at London South Bank’s shiniest new hotel, The Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.
Sounds seriously swanky? Looks it too, however, despite gleaming escalators leading up to the restaurant and an ultra-modern lobby, there’s a lovely Provencal flavour to the interior of the brasserie itself with potted herbs and tins of olive oil nestled atop each table.
Rustic styling, rustic menu? French in flavour, the offering changes daily with traditional bistro favourites such as fish soup, steak tartar or suckling pork belly offered alongside the likes of Cornish prawns with ratatouille vermicelli (served still piping in its Le Creuset pan) and, our favourite, sea bass in papillote.
And to drink? To go with the French-inspired menu, there are plenty of French wines to choose from, and some extremely clued-up waiters to point you in the right direction. Ideal for those whose knowledge of vin français doesn’t reach further than Bordeaux.
Need to know? Brasserie Joël is open for dining from 5:30pm to 10:30pm every evening.