Looking for an upmarket alternative to Cafè Rouge? Let Le Bouchon tickle your French fancy
Where?Le Bouchon Bordelais, 5-9 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1HG
Snails, madame? Non, merci! Unfortunately, I’m not that adventurous. Fortunately (for me, anyway), at Le Bouchon, I didn’t have to be. Of course, typical French fare like snails are available (12, cooked in garlic and parsley butter, to be precise) if you so fancy, but I found the Sauteed Scallops With Fresh Herbs Velouté In A Puff Pastry Case (£9.95) a more appealing option – and they were melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The A La Carte menu offered a truly tempting range of innovative dishes, which all jumped off the page. I plumped for the Traditional Slow-Cooked Cock Bird in a Rich Red Wine Sauce, served with Mushrooms, Bacon, Croutons and Potatoes (£14.50). Typically hearty, rich French food, the flavours were strong and delightful but, beware, cockerel is a much tougher meat than chicken.
To drink? The wine list is as long as your leg, with top choices from all over France. Not a wine buff? Ask the super-helpful waiter to suggest one for you. We sipped on Sancerre Rosé Domaine de la Villaudière 2006 (£32), which slipped down very happily indeed.
Who goes? Well-to-do Claphamites, happy to part with their healthy pay packets. If your purse is slightly less cash-crammed, it might be better to save this visit for a special occasion – although the quality of food is well worth the price.
Need to know? If you’re looking for a romantic rendez-vous, go early in the week. We went on a Wednesday night, when it was busy enough to feel cosy, but quiet enough to receive excellent service and undivided attention. Oh, and don’t leave without trying the Crème Brulee. Out. Of. This. World.