I wanted an authentic French dinner. While Zedel offered great value for money, I didn't think the quality of food was up to scratch, and Balthazar really is just a posher version of Zedel. I heard nice things about La Petite Maison, but the steak tartare at Brasserie Chavot was rated very highly by Skinnybib.
As one would expect from a Mayfair hotel, Chavot is quite up-market with chandeliers and red leather booths. The mosaic floor removed the sterility by adding a touch of timeless glamour and grandeur. Very elegant. The menu may appear uninspiring for those who expected modern French, as it offers the most classic, old-school French dishes. And this was exactly what I was craving.
Beef Carpaccio, pickled mushroom
I cornered Ana into opting for this over her original choice of the tartare. The dish was beautifully presented; wafer thin slices of deep crimson beef submerged in generous splurge of olive oil, scattered with pickled ceps, croutons, parmesan and artichoke. The melty texture of the carpaccio was faultless, and flavours, though mild, were balanced. It was a delicate ensemble.
The steak was chopped to a creamy smoothness, blended with a finely minced capers and shallots, mildy dressed with gentle acidity that gave an appetising zing without overpowering the delicacy of the dish. The beautiful quail egg topped it all off with roundness and depth. I think this was as close to Paris as it gets.
Rump of Oisin venison, honey glazed root vegetable
The venison was beautifully medium, succulent, tender and bursting with gamey flavours with precise seasoning. The honey sauce was subtly sweet; it supported the meat and was soaked up by the vegetables. It was a substantial and comforting dish.
Cote de porc, honey and mustard
The hunk of pork chop had a good rind of lard grilled to a crispy, charred edge. I know it's not one of the superfoods, but definitely one of my guilty pleasures - the release of nutty, piggy essence with each chew. The mustard sauce was addictive, the simple combination of honey sweetness and porky meatiness was spot on.
For desserts we moved over to Sketch (The Glade) for some sexier creations.
Brasserie Chavot won me over. It may not be the most stylish restaurants to be seen at, but it serves up authentic French classic dishes with utmost precision in execution. There is no gimmick to it, just pure quality. On the other hand, if you're looking for something with a bit of a twist and a bit of wow factor to churn conversation, Little Social would be a better option.
41 Conduit Street
Tel: 0207 183 6425