Bermondsey Street has plenty of great places to eat – there’s Zucca, Pizarro, José, Gregg’s Bar and Grill (joke!) but there’s a lack of all things French in that mix. That’s where Casse Croûte comes in – a new bistro serving classic French favourites.
It’s a tiny restaurant with tables packed very close together – so much so that it’s inevitable one of you will knock over a glass or two when getting to your seat. But with that comes a great atmosphere and a great French soundtrack playing in the background – it felt like we were actually in France.
The daily changing menu (written in French) is small with just three options per course and is displayed on a blackboard on the wall.
As none of the starters took my gentleman companion’s fancy he went for a plate of charcuterie. The meats; rosette de Lyon and coppa corse (both £4.50 each) were sliced at the bar and tasted absolutely delicious. Both were slightly peppery and had the perfect amount of fattiness. The house bread served with it could have done with some nice salty butter but it was tasty never-the-less.
To start I went for the ragoût d’escargots with crepe vonnasienne (£7.50) – that’s snails and pancakes to you and me. It was a deliciously rich dish drenched in a creamy sauce. The crepes tasted more sweet than savoury which went surprisingly well with the soft succulent snails.
My main course of coq au vin (£13.50) was quite disappointing. Although the chicken was supposed to be served off the bone I still got splinters of bone in every mouthful and the chicken that I did get was dry and overcooked. The sauce however was full of flavour and I loved dunking the replenished bread into it.
My gentleman companion really enjoyed his mignon de porc, ventreche, alsacienne and comte (£12.50). It was basically a rolled fillet of pork with mashed potato, a creamy sauce, grated comte cheese and a slice of bacon. It was really tasty; the pork was succulent, the mash was smooth and the bacon was as crispy as it gets which was all brought together by the sweet comte. It could have done with a side of veg though (no side dishes are available).
For dessert I went for the Paris brest (£4.50) which is choux pastry filled with a praline cream. It was crispier than I had expected but it was devilishly sweet and delicious. The praline cream was nutty and almost chocolatey – totally indulgent.
My gentleman companion ordered the creme brûlée (£4.50) which had a perfectly crisp sugar topping. Beneath it sat a silky smooth set custard steeped in vanilla which was utterly divine.
Coq au vin aside, we really enjoyed our lunch at Casse-Croûte. As I sipped away on my Orangina and listened to “non, je ne regrette rien” in the background, I was transported back to my holidays in France when I was a kid. A welcome addition to Bermondsey Street.