Côte Brasserie, Clifton Review

Supper at Côte is always a treat but when there are new dishes on the menu to try, even more so. We were in the mood to enjoy ourselves along with a packed restaurant; Côte has the enviable talent of being able to cater for the romantic two’s, the birthday party and the family outing all at once without either encroaching on the other. A crescent shaped booth put us in the romantic two’s category, and we read through the menu, already knowing that we wanted to try the new main dish of côte de boeuf to share which sounded marvellous. British Beef dry-aged for 30 days, matured in a Himalayan rock salt ageing room, served with truffle hollandaise, frites and a choice of two sides, for us creamed spinach and petit pois.

For starters we chose crispy confit duck salad with oranges, watercress, French beans, and courgette with a yoghurt dressing for me, and crispy whitebait with garlic and lemon aioli for him. Meanwhile a charming and knowledgeable waiter came to help us with our wine flight for this extravaganza suggesting a Côtes du Gascogne Sauvignon Blanc for the starter, and a Graves Bordeaux for the beef. In the small blind tasting he organised, I failed spectacularly to identify the Malbec I thought I would like so happily went with his recommendations after that!

We loved both our starters, the richness of the plentiful crispy confit duck was nicely offset by the tart fruit and peppery watercress making a delightful salad. Steak knives were issued in advance of the main course (which I have to say were not needed as the beef proved to be as tender as fillet) and the
côte de boeuf arrived, arranged thinly sliced on a wooden board with the truffle hollandaise alongside. It looked magnificent and entirely lived up to expectations, perfectly cooked medium rare, with a delicious flavour. I really enjoyed the petit pois which were served with lemon, mint, and croutons, and of course who can resist the frites – not me.

We had to sit back and have a breather before we considered desserts; I especially wanted to try the new espresso martini crêpes with espresso martini syrup, coffee crème fraiche, Kahlúa, vodka and chocolate sauce, plus raspberries – how good does that sound? But I dallied too long and found that it was very popular; some other lucky diner had snaffled the last one. Instead we had my all- time favourite, tarte au citron, plus a strawberry and elderflower crème brûlée from the spring specials menu. These two made the perfect finish to the meal, light and sweet – and it is the French way that you must never leave the table without a sweet taste in your mouth; hence they serve cheese before pudding.

Jacquie Vowles

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