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Image 1: Situated on the South side of Wandsworth Common, this isn’t the easiest place to get to from central London. But then, not everyone’s coming from Central London!
Image 2: It’s actually a spot of some culinary significance, as it was the site of Harveys - Marco Pierre White's 3-star restaurant, before he hung up his chef's apron for good. Both Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal had some training here.
Image 3: You couldn’t call it a fancy place, a modest dining room and casual service, but it has an affordable menu that changes daily and consistently delicious food that established Chez Bruce as the "Londoners' Favourite place to eat".
Image 4: There were 3 choices of bread - I liked the walnut & raisin one the best.
... and savoury bacon brioche. We think the savoury bacon brioche at Le Champignon Sauvage trumps this by miles though.
Image 6: Our first course was a roast turbot with a nice crispy skin, resting on a curry sauce, with pieces of smoked haddock and a quail egg underneath.
Image 7: It also came with a spiced fishcake ball. The turbot was OK, though I found it a bit dry, and the sauce was more like a soup. But the hint of coriander was lovely. The quail egg was soft-poached and the fishcake was perfectly done.
Image 8: Nested in strands of parsnip crisps was our other first course - slices of duck breast with sherry vinaigrette.
Image 9: The best part of the dish was the parsnip purée and confit of duck at the bottom. Apart from the intense acidity from the caper, it was a pretty decent dish, with the parsnip giving a pleasantly crunchy texture to the dish.
Image 10: Although we had a relatively big round table, space was still very tight. So much so, in fact that my sauce spoon found itself crossing over my partner's knife!
Image 11: For the main course, a beautiful pan fried sea bass served with a crab and scallop raviolo.
Image 12: The stuffing in the raviolo was soft and moist, working really well with the creamy bisque and chive sauce. An excellent dish in all ways!
Image 13: The best part of the meal was demolishing this delicious chunk of fully braised beef cheek after smothering it with buttery mashed potato with Burgundy sauce.
Image 14: It was truly fork-tender meat, falling apart with just gentle pressure from my fork. Also, the carrot and bean mixture underneath was excellent, retaining its crunchy texture. A perfectly executed classic dish!
Image 15: For dessert, pistachio custard dusted in cocoa powder with crushed pistachio on top, and served with a pair of warm Madeleines on the side.
Image 16: The creamy pistachio custard actually contained whole cherries. I was surprised at how well the flavour of pistachio and cherry paired together. Liked it a lot!
Image 17: The madeleines even had a chocolate filling. Not bad at all!
Image 18: The other dessert was a hot chocolate pudding with a scoop of praline parfait stacked on top, and the whole thing surrounded by a chocolate sauce sprinkled with roasted almond shavings. Sensational contrast of temperatures: warm rich chocolate cake counterpointed by the cold but melting ice cream. A powerful dessert - and in a good way!
Image 19: We were completely full, but there was still a thin shortbread petit-four to come.
Image 20: So…a good lunch. A very good lunch. The first half of the meal was good enough, but the second half was outstanding. Basically, it was a delicious and enjoyable meal - and phenomenal value!