Blanchette Soho

School friends chose the tapas spot for our catch-up supper (Monday night tapas seems to be our tradition). And they selected Blanchette Soho, an utterly French place in the north end of Soho run by three French brothers – Maxime, Yannis and Malik Alary.

Blanchette captures France of the imagination. It’s a delightful rus in Soho with bare brick walls artfully distressed, stripped furniture and objets d’art. Indeed, there’s a multitude of knick-knacks, including Gerard Depardieu cookbooks. The tabletops are mostly marble, the lights twinkly and the dial is set to low-key romance, the sort of dining room that could be a date restaurant, a place to meet friends, or an Instagram background waiting to happen. The plates are Instagram starts. At the front there’s a bar to eat at with a view of French pastoral scenes assembled from Art Nouveau tiles. At the back there’s a dining room with bare-brick walls. Its cosy and warm vibe makes this spot perfect for an Autumnal September evening.

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The menu is split between selections of cheese with brilliant names like Tomme d’Abondance, various charcuterie, snacks and small plates. There is a glorious old-school vibe, which aims to transport. From the “Vegetable” selection, I was torn between the Heirloom Tomato, Melon and Cucumber Salad with Riesling Vinaigrette (£8.50) and the Lentils Vinagirette with Candy Beetroot, Hazlenuts and Fresh Goats Cheese (£7.75). As I was in a beet-kind-of mood and melon seemed like more of a summer salad, I chose the latter. It was earthy and simple – relaxedly rustic, laced with the tastes of a Mediterranean holiday.

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The one down-side of the evening was our amateurish waitress, who took a shocking half an hour to bring our jug of tap water and a carafe of house white. Even the food arrived in a haphazard manner – my companion’s Monkfish with roasted pumpkin, truffle and sundried tomato sauce (which she loved) arrived long before my Lentils turned up.

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Aside from the terrible service, Blanchette Soho is warm, convivial and fun. I do suspect that it pales in comparison to the very popular Copita just over the road though…

Blanchette Soho, 9 D’Arblay Street, London, W1F 8DR

Website: http://www.blanchettesoho.co.uk/

Rating: ***

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