Chez Bruce is a charming Michelin starred restaurant in Wandsworth which has a real ‘neighbourhood favourite’ vibe to it. It’s the sort of place that if I lived locally I’d really enjoy being a regular. The service was warm and friendly and nothing felt too stuffy. It’s co-owned by Nigel Platts Martin who also owns The Glasshouse and La Trompette – which both have a similar vibe.
The menu available was three courses for £45 with plenty of choice for each course – I actually struggled to pick something as it all sounded so good! I like this kind of menu as you know exactly where you stand price wise – there should never be any shocked faces come receipt time.
To start I opted for the lamb sweetbreads and tongue with goats cheese dumpling, wild garlic pesto and dressed fregola (a type of pasta). The main reason for ordering this was for the lamb’s tongue as I’ve never experienced it before. It was absolutely divine, so soft and juicy – everywhere should be using lamb tongue. It was a busy looking plate of food but it was bloomin tasty.
My gentleman companion went for the warm onion tart with Mrs. Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese, endive, mustard and walnuts. It tasted like a really lovely quiche – Mrs Kirkham, I applaud your cheese for it tastes delicious. The endive brought a slight bitterness which worked well with the rich tart.
For main I went with the breast and rolled leg of chicken with spinach gratin, crisp garlic potatoes, anchovy and rosemary. Even though the flavour of anchovy and rosemary didn’t seem present, it didn’t matter as the dish was so darn tasty. The chicken was succulent, the potatoes were some of the crispiest I’ve come across and the spinach rich and creamy. There was nothing not to like!
My gentleman companion’s herb crusted pork with wild garlic, jersey royals, morels and braised bacon was very enjoyable. The potatoes had been boiled which was a shame; roasted tatties would have been far tastier. The pork was served pink and was cooked to tender perfection and there was plenty of it too.
Desserts (as we found with La Trompette) were a little less wondrous. My baba au rum with creme chantilly seemed void of the promised rum. I like a real kick to the back of the throat with rum baba but this sponge seemed to be soaked in a sweet syrup – minus the alcohol. The sponge was also slightly burnt on the top giving it a bitter after taste which wasn’t hugely pleasant.
My gentleman companion’s hot chocolate and almond pudding with praline parfait was so rich and stodgy that we only managed to finish half of it – and we were sharing. As inviting as it looked it was simply too dense to really enjoy. And to clarify, I’m a piggie – I’ll eat anything.
During our dinner at Chez Bruce it was the first time we’d experienced loud, obnoxious and seriously drunk diners on another table. They were nightmare customers; rude to staff and totally disrespectful to other people trying to enjoy their evening. It’s a shame the staff had to put up with them as they seriously ruined our, and I expect others’, evening.
That aside, the food served up at Chez Bruce isn’t particularly modern and it doesn’t hit huge gastronomic heights but that ain’t a bad thing. What it does serve are really tasty dishes and ones that you’d gladly eat every night of the week. I’d willingly return but I’d just skip the puddings in future and hope that the table of pillocks next to us aren’t regulars!