Posted on Wednesday, 9th July 2014
Chef Eric Chavot is best known for his ten-year stint at the two-Michelin starred restaurant at The Capital Hotel where he offered some of the finest French haute cuisine to be had in London. The French born chef trained with some of the most famous names in the culinary world including the likes of Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire and Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. He also worked with Marco Pierre White before venturing out on his own with The Capital.
The Capital Restaurant closed in 2009 after which Chef Chavot left for a two year sojourn in The US. But he came back, opening his self-named Brasserie Chavot in The Westbury Hotel in 2013. It’s a world away from the formality of The Capital. Instead of carpeted floors and white linen tablecloths there has been a move towards tiled floors and banquette seating for a more relaxed feel. It’s still a glamorous looking venue nevertheless, with great accoustics to soften the hum of noise from the conversation of other diners.
The menu at Brasserie Chavot may be less complex then his fine dining days at The Capital, but it still bears Chavot’s trademark of classic French cooking and it was enough to see him win a Michelin star in 2014. We started our meal with a scallop ceviche (£13.50) which showcased scallops of the highest quality. Thinly sliced, they were absolutely glorious with a soft texture and a sweet wonderful flavour. The lemon dressing with basil worked well with the scallops although it was a touch acidic in parts.
Less successful was the second starter of grilled mackerel (£11.50) with a side of potato salad. All the elements had been nicely cooked but the fish had been smothered with a creamy but slightly overpowering ranch dressing.
Our bread basket was excellent. Containing white and brown sourdough, the crust was crunchy and the centre was soft and tasty. But annoyingly Brasserie Chavot charges £2.50 for bread.
We both ordered the cannon of lamb (£26), a wonderful looking dish served with ratatouille and an olive jus. But this dish showed up an inconsistency in the cooking. I was first sent lamb that was slightly overcooked and consequently a little chewy. A request for another portion then resulted in lamb that was better cooked but very over seasoned.
As for the accompanying ratatouille – this too was inconsistent. Portion one was really lovely but portion two was also very salty. Surprisingly the best element on the dish was a pastille containing some braised lamb shoulder and neck with a mixture of spices. It tasted absolutely heavenly and was the type of food I had been expecting to taste at Brasserie Chavot. But overall, for a dish that had so much potential the results proved to be a little sloppy.
A dessert of lemon tart (£9) came on a delicious buttery biscuit base. The lemon filing was wonderfully smooth and zingy although more filling would have made the dessert more electrifying. A tangy lemon sorbet and light and airy bits of meringue completed the dish.
As far as your average dining experiences goes, this was a pretty tasty meal even if there were a few negatives to it. However this wasn’t your average dining experience but a meal in a one-star Michelin restaurant.
Consequently it was all rather underwhelming and fell below expectations. The type of errors we saw – overcooking and over seasoning – aren’t the types of errors you might expect of a Michelin restaurant. The service was respectable but sleepy at times. I waited forever for my aperitif and it took me prodding the waiter before it finally came. It was a good restaurant, but not a great one-star Michelin restaurant.
Food rating: 3.5/5
Service rating: 3.5/5
Prices: £35 to £51 for three courses, excludes drinks and service.