It is elegant, stylish, and very... French...
The brasserie itself is set inside an old corner pub, just by the Thames. From the outside it's very understated, and it's definitely the kind of restaurant you need to be seeking out, rather than stumble across. The interior is equally discreet, and there's a very nice shabby-chic velvet seated salon upstairs. The banquette is a beautiful duck egg blue, and there are French chandeliers, tablecloths, and a roaring fire on which much of the food is cooked. The staff are predominantly French too, and the there's a lovely French female sommelier, who remembers your preferences from visit to visit.
Once seated, you're given a bowl of different breads which have been seared on the open fire, and served on wooden boards. I wish I could describe the full variety of the menu to you, but in reality I only ever eat the same thing here - wagyu beef! Before we get to that, there are a variety of starters - there's always a foie offering - but I usually opt for the plump scallops, here served with crispy bacon and a little pea puree. The Hubby will often try the foie offering, which always comes with absolutely excellent brioche.
It's worth recounting that on my first visit to the CWB a large table next to us ordered the crudités and dips - my word... A basket of the freshest and most varied vegetables imaginable arrived - it was incredible! If I thought it would even remotely allow room for my main, I'd order this. Perhaps if you're in a large group you might consider it.
On every visit we have the wagyu. Always. It's seared on the fire in the middle of the room, and comes with a variety of sauces and sides. I have the Bearnaise sauce, which here is thick, intense with tarragon, and with enough acidity to truly cut through the charred richness of the outside of the steak. The Hubby usually has the mushroom sauce, which is rich and dense, and he has a side order of chips - always perfectly cooked - in a little silver pot. I have a side salad, properly dressed, and full of soft leaves, rather than the bitter ones you find in many restaurants. The steaks are delivered to you on a board having been rested, with a burning stem of rosemary, and cut in front of you. The charred and burning rosemary really does evoke all kinds of food feelings, the scent of barbecues, outside cooking, it works very well with the sweetly charred scent of the steaks.
This certainly isn't the cheapest steak in london, but if you're looking for a little more French elegance than American diner, do give the Cheyne Walk Brasserie a go... It's elegant, grownup and, for me, the best steak in London.
A La Carte
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