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.
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.
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.
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