Church Walk, Richmond
Friday 2nd May
“Let’s go to La Buvette” I said.
“Sounds perfect” came the reply.
And off we popped.
The service was great: albeit fragmented. A smile goes a long way but twenty minutes goes a mile.
We arrived into a lowered, poky dining room; stuffy and dated. Clustered tables topped with paper tablecloths – surrounded by passé yellow walls. This was indeed traditional: most definitely French. And so it should be.
Not when the food arrived.
The… The Mademoiselle ordered the asparagus starter from the specials board. In season, if not entirely – in my conscience anyway – French; they were giving them away. So much asparagus, not enough ham. Parma ham. French? Non. Good nonetheless but spoilt by the indifference it caused.
Mine came from the menu. Pork Rillettes with two slices of thin toast. Nice. I liked it. Not wowed, nor impressed. Satisfied. Satisfied would be the word. Unmoved. Content. Not the greatest ever starter to have graced a London dining room, nevertheless, ‘twas hardly tosh.
Our mains. Well…
Let’s just take a moment.
Then let’s just take a few more. In fact: Lets make that fifteen. Cigarette. Bathroom. Hell, take ten additional minutes to bring what were, quite frankly, two disappointing mains.
In all fairness to them, it didn’t help that my chicken was dryer than a crusty loaf and that my spuds were so blimming al dente that Arthur would have struggled to get his Excalibur sword out. Or in…as was seemingly the case. All fairness? All fairness: my fibula. It was poor!!!
The girlfriend had the cod: soggy skin, soggy bottom. The cod that is!
I took it from her. I was so despondent with my dehydrated ‘poulet’: I wanted to check the cod was cooked; and I don’t eat fish. It was cooked. Under-seasoned but cooked irreproachably and presented upon a spicy chickpea sauce that could garnish any bowl in any Moroccan restaurant. You must – I feel, when trying a restaurant – give them their dues: my chicken was cataclysmic.
But the chickpeas were good. Spiced chickpeas aren’t intrinsically French. Neither is soggy cod skin.
Don’t go. It simply isn’t worth it. It is overpriced and it is falling apart at the seams.
The Cheeseboard: tremendous. The French do their cheeses well. But then they normally do their chicken well so I shan’t advise you jump to a La Buvette conclusion. They did get this right though. Or the supplier of the ‘fromage’ foresaw my frustrations.
And so to the bill: Holy Schnitzel. That would be German. I’ll stick to English; as dialect isn’t my strong point. Holy… Sausages.
Had it been excellent here: as I was expecting from the numerous nods I’d received; I would have perhaps understood. It wasn’t. It was overpriced and underwhelming.
Never again. Don’t bother.
£70. Two Courses each. Cheese to share.