Given the 30+ years Raymond Blanc has been gracing the culinary world with his talents, you'd feel confident in your assertions that this outpost of his empire would be a haven for foodies, we're not so sure.
There was certainly no shying away from the French stereotypes when this restaurant was being designed. All the cliches are there, crisp white linens, waxed soaked candelabras and rustic furniture. This Brasserie doesn’t strive to be anything other than what it is, which is honest at least. It certainly doesn’t strive to be a ‘concept’ dining space with design flavours from the 80s when French cuisine was in vogue.
This is no pretentious French eatery, the waiting team are terrific, being friendly without being overly familiar, relaxed without seeming lazy. The service wasn’t perfect throughout our visits, but it was pretty close. Thankfully there’s none of the pretension of a French restaurant in this regard. You don’t have to to have the facade of s’il vous plaits and mercis here – all the accents are local and the general manner similarly down to earth.
The set menu is available daily up to 7pm at a cost of £11.50 for two courses and £13.95 for three courses. Add a glass of wine for an extra £2.50, and you can still have a slap up meal and still have change from a twenty. Don’t be under the assumption that the low cost will equate to low quality. From the starters of ham hock with sultana terrine and pickled red cabbage to the main of cod fillet in red pepper sauce and the pistachio soufflé to finish off, it’s top notch for the price.
This could have easily been a star restaurant review and one of the few chains we have given a star too. However the menu is just "ok". There was never anything that lept out and tantalised the palate. It all seemed designed around being easy to teach to someone, so as to be easily copied across the entire chain. On our final visit our starters were terrines and mains were small, very overcooked lobster frites. The saving grace was the Pistachio soufflé, a genuine terrific dish. Brasserie Blanc may be worth a visit if you have little choice, but you will never be longing to return.