Thursday, 25 August 2011

Bistro du Vin - the Soho Sister

A while back I was invited along with Kavey Eats, Gourmet Chick, Bitten Written and Food For Think to try out Bistro du Vin, Dean Street - another addition to Soho's growing culinary delights.

Just a few weeks before I'd been to their Clerkenwell branch and was impressed - my expectations were high.

On entering there was a similar sleek, chic feel to the place - although without the central bar feature in the Soho branch this seemed far more spacious. We met in the back of the restaurant - the chill-out area which had a back wall filled with shelves of books and orange interiors.

It was a warm, summer evening and we were greeted with the signature opening cocktail - a Chase Vodka Summer Fruit Punch. This was a long drink and frankly a thing of beauty - filled with berries, rose petals and with elderflower, borage and lemon peel in the mix - it was delicious and refreshing too.

I was determined to try something different from when I'd been at the Clerkenwell establishment, and being with fellow food-lovers I knew the opportunity to try other things would be a certainty.

Once seated at our round table, close to the ever-fashionable Josper Grill, I chose the Lobster Bisque to begin. This arrived in a gorgeous earthenwear terracotta dish on a wodden board with some sourdough bread on the side. The bisque was a vivid orange hue, piping hot and had an immense flavour running through it. It was truly delicious - and surprisingly filling for such a thin soup. The flavour had a very strong fishy taste to it - perfect for me, but maybe not for the faint-hearted seafood lover.

We all decided on our main courses and were promised an array of side dishes to share. After suffering food envy the last time when the boy had chosen a steak off of the Josper Grill - I took our attentive waiter's advice and chose the 500g Bone in Sirloin.

I had no food envy this time. The steak was rare, juicy, red and cooked to absolute perfection. The flavour and seasoning was spot on and although I'd asked for an accompanying Bearnaise sauce, this could have easily been demolished without it.

Generously we were given a couple of all of the sides available and personal favourites were the purple potatoes which had a gorgeous earthy flavour, creamy potato puree and the tomato salad which had gorgeous tomatoes of all hues and sweet, ripe flavouring.

Another star side was the additional bone marrow which was an afterthought as a few of us were having steak. Scraped out and eat with a mouthful of steak this added a gorgeous intensity. A very enjoyable course.

One person had the Wild Mushroom, ricotta and spinach crepe which came up with salad on top. This looked nice enough, but as the only vegetarian option available on the menu I thought this lacked imagination on a menu filled with so many good meat and fish options.

Kavey chose the Hot Roasted Shells - which looked simply fantastic and I will be sure to have that when I return. This included lobster, razor clams, Queenie scallops, crayfish, mussels and crab and it looked a picture. We were informed the flavour matched up to the appearance.

After having such a filling, yet enjoyable meal it would have been easy to have a coffee and roll home. However we were urged to try a dessert and never one to let people down, I quickly opted for the Lemon, ricotta and pine nut tart. It was lovely and refreshing, and once again, as in the Clerkenwell restaurant, I marvelled at the pastry expertise.

One of the key features of Bistro du Vin is their 'La Cave a Fromage' or their cheese cave - a walk in treasure chest of over 70 cheeses, many of which are artisan and chosen for their seasonality. We were treated in pairs to a discussion with legendary cheese expert Eric Charriaux within the (freezing cold) cave and were made up a board of cheeses according to those we liked after trying several. Eric's chat was fascinating and I learned a lot more about cheese. I'm not going to go into too much detail as am planning on visiting La Cave in the next fortnight and making the most of their Unlimited Cheese for £12.50 offer. I will share this experience with readers, but I will say the stand out cheese during this meal for me was the goats cheese which had an accompaniment of honey and saffron - perfect partners.

The meal was fantastic overall and it was great to put faces to some other bloggers that I've long followed.

Soho's game has been rising more and more over the past couple of years thanks to people like Russell Norman, and Bistro du Vin, is another gem which is a very welcome newbie in what feels like the hippest part of London Town right now. Long may it reign.
Bistro du Vin on Urbanspoon


  1. Hi Bec sounds wonderful, I could almost taste the food.
    I'm jealous of the lobster for sure.
    Love Aunty Karen x

  2. Thanks Karen - it was lovely - you'd definitely like it. Next time you're down we should go for a nice meal to one of my 'wishlist venues' xx

  3. The hot roasted shells were HEAVENLY, as were my sweetbreads starter!

  4. I will definitely be having that when I return! I'm treating myself to Le Cave Au Fromage experience next week - I feel a cheese-fest coming on!