Eating Out

Review: Brasserie Blanc

If there’s one thing we seem to do well in the UK, it’s a chain restaurant (usually Italian cuisine-based). And, while many of these are great for quick, cheaper gluten free options, what about when you want to go somewhere a bit more upmarket without breaking the bank and seeing those tummy-friendly dishes disappear off the menu?

Say hello to Brasserie Blanc – the series of restaurants from renowned French chef Raymond Blanc. With five London locations and another 13 across the UK, they’re not limited only to us city folk and, while mains on the a la carte menu range in price from around £13-23 each, the set menu is very reasonable at just £11.95 for two courses (or £13.95 if you’re in London). The best part? There is a good selection of gluten free options across the menu.

The set menu in particular changes regularly, which means if you want to make a repeat visit you’re not limited to just the same couple of dishes every time. When I visited one of their London locations a few weeks ago I was very pleasantly surprised – I was dining off the set menu and out of the three possible options for every course, at least one in each was gluten free.
To start I had a kale and slaw salad and, when it arrived at the table, was far bigger than I was expecting (not a bad thing). All the ingredients were deliciously fresh and the sweet, crunchy apple slices on top worked perfectly with the softer, earthier tones of the beetroot. Meanwhile, for my main course I opted for a butternut squash risotto – the ultimate comfort food – and it was exquisite. Again, the portion size was very generous, and the risotto itself creamy without being too thick or overpowering. The chunks of squash were grilled to perfection, and the softly cooked kale scattered across balanced out the inclusion of rich, melted cheese.

Sadly these have now disappeared off the changing set menu, but there’s still plenty of gf dishes on the a la carte and set menus to tempt taste  buds: Rainbow Beetroot and Goat’s Curd Salad, Potted Shrimps with gluten free bread, Wild Boar Sirloin, Pan Seared Trout, and Duck Leg Confit are but a few of the current offerings. I’ll be honest, they’re definitely letting the coeliac team down with a lack of gf dessert options (always a disaster when your sweet tooth is as large as mine!), but hopefully the effort they have gone to in creating gluten and dairy free recipes across the savoury plates will soon be reflected in their puddings.

Additionally, aside from generally being welcoming and friendly, the staff were very knowledgeable about gluten free dishes and catering to coeliacs. I’ll definitely make a return visit in future (and keeping my fingers crossed for the reappearance of the risotto)!