Can't be faulted on quality, service or atmosphere.
We had the Cote de Boeuf to share, simply perfect, tender and well garnished. The deconstructed cheesecake to finish was sublime.
Alas, with somewhere so perfect there is always the bill - which certainly won't disappoint. Don't expect to get out for less than three figures.
It's nice to have a Michelin starred restaurant south of the river near to me. Chez Bruce is part of a group also comprising fellow starred restaurants La Trompette in Chiswick and The Glasshouse in Kew. Speaking to the waiter at Chez Bruce, the credit crunch has had an effect on some of the fellow restaurants but Chez Bruce's bookings are still holding up well.
Speaking about the booking process, I have to give you a tip. Every time I've booked, I've been told that they're fully booked. However, they have a smaller room upstairs - when I've then asked whether I can have a table there, they have always said yes! They've then tried to push me for a certain time and when I've asked for the time I want, they've said yes! And on arrival, the upstairs room hasn't been full. Having said that, they're very efficient and you always get a phonecall a day ahead to check that you'll turn up for your booking.
The restaurant is close to Wandsworth Common train station and I generally park in the free station car park. Inside the unassuming front door is a world of calm and wonderful service. The waiting staff have never been anything but friendly and attentive in the right amount. Never too pushy but with a helpful suggestion if required. For example, tap water is offered without a bat of an eyelid.
Chez Bruce offers a £40 prix fixe menu at dinner with 7/8 choices for each course. The style of food is generally good French brasserie with a changing menu depending on produce and seasonality. I am however very impressed that they do push the culinary boundaries as well. For example, last year, they did have calf's brain as a starter and I was gutted to have missed it while it was on the menu.
Generally, I've enjoyed the starters and desserts with inventive and clean flavour combinations. A recent inventive starter was the duck, green bean and prosciutto salad which was served like a pancake and an example of a dessert is a pear and almond croustade which was a whole pear baked in a pyramid of filo pastry served with poire William and apple ice cream. Although always well cooked the main courses don't somtimes hit the heights of the starters and desserts, mainly when some of the flavour combinations become muddied.
On paying the bill, we were given a card offering us a half price meal at The Glasshouse till the end of March.
I've brought several friends from out of town to Chez Bruce. It offers a reliable and high class dining experience.
My boyfriend said that his lamb was the best lamb he's ever had, and my fish was delicious.
This is an odd aside, but the lighting in just gorgeous - soft and warm, but not too dark to eat in. Everyone looks peachy-skinned and attractive in that kind of light...
There are only two things that aren't perfect about this restaurant. Firstly the tables are far too close together... literally elbow to elbow with the next door table in some of the tighter spots. I knew this ahead of time, so asked for a table in a quiet corner; and they were happy to oblige luckily (definitely do the same). Secondly, there is only a set menu so you have to have 3 courses. It's definitely not a place for a 'lighter meal' and as a woman, the volume of creamy food is difficult to get through - though I gave it a good go because I'm a trooper.
The pride of Wandsworth Common - our own Michelin starred restaurant. The food is amazing as you'd expect - go for the set menu and you'll also get great value.
The service and the atmosphere is also excellent, and a great selection of wines which the friendly sommelier can help you with. The best thing about this restaurant is the value for money - there aren't many Michelin starred restaurants where you can get dinner for under £80 per head.
Highly recommend, but book in advance - usually a 1 month+ wait for weekends.
Sometimes if you wait too long for something it simply doesn't have a chance to live up to your expectations. Chez Bruce, I waited a long time and unfortunately you fell slightly short. But let me explain...
So, along with hubby I took my parents for a meal one Saturday night. A generous wedding present from work helped fund the majority of our food at £40 a head for the three course menu. I think I chose pretty well, as my tuna starter was beautifully cooked and started the meal off perfectly. Husband being a foie gras aficionado opted for said dish and was greeted with something that looked particularly average and unfortunately not really anything to shout about.
The fresh foie gras that came with my duck however was amazing and was a highlight of a slightly interesting asian inspired duck dish. My desert of a salted caramel was a delight too. And all in all the three courses were perfectly balanced, if (only ever so slightly) on the small size.
So, three stars. Yes, well we were seated upstairs, with just four other tables and no background music whatsoever. I know posh places don't really go in for the whole 'muzak' thing, but it really felt like we were eating in someone's living room and that we'd all happened to have been thrown together. Each table carefully eyeing the other up and keeping our voices slightly below the usual level for fear of disturbing our immediate new dining friends.
Service was perhaps a bit overly fussy and lacking in real warmth from both maître de and waitress.
So, is it worth it? I'd say there are better michelin starred restaurants around and maybe, just maybe, old Chez Bruce is starting to look a little dated. And maybe I was just a few years too late.
I've been a couple more times since my original review and just want to add a note about lunch - do it. We went for lunch at the weekend and it's just a lovely lovely experience. It feels special, but laid back, and you can walk it all off on the common afterwards.
I've also since had the cheese board and can recommend it. I would've liked to have been told a bit more about the cheese I chose (rather haphazardly) - the head waiter was obviously quite busy. Also, he looked really taken aback when I asked him which cheese he'd prefer of two - surely he should know what tastes nice? Anyway, maybe that's just some random restaurant faux-pas I didn't know about, don't ask waiters what cheese they like to eat.
One of the cheeses tasted like photocopier toner, which was nice in a weird way, and you can't buy that in Waitrose my friends.
Still worth the money, and a great place to take friends for a treat, as we did.
My first vist to Chez Bruce was very pleasing, and I look forward to attempting quarterly visits.
We were quickly seated and introduced to the Sommelier, who is a Canadian. He was fabulous, I recommend taking advantage of his knowledge and humility. He guided us towards an excellent Macon for our starters, Pork Belly and Cod with baby squid, and an Auxey Duresses 1er Cru from 2005 to accompany and assiette of lamb, and roast veal. All dishes were superb.
Puddings were not as fabulous - the Creme Brulee was huge! Call me old fashioned but why not have a nice little ramekin? It was more like a side plate and was very rich and well chilled. I had the cheese which was very well kept but I wasn't sure what to pick and felt I could have been guided a little better.
Espresso was very good but pricey (£3.50) but they were accompanied by delightful homemade tuffles.
It was pricey, almost £200, but worth every penny. It doesn't need to cost this much and I think you could spend half and still have a great meal.
I'm delighted it's a 10min stroll along the road!
'South of the river' has become a dirty phrase for many Londoners and this vast area falls outside the radar of many food writers and guides - perhaps most significantly the critical eyes of the surreptitious inspectors at Michelin. Chez Bruce then, is a lone star in a very bleak sky (with the exception of the Glasshouse at Kew), and following my first visit on Saturday, one that I'm sure will continue to shine brightly.
There is a rich culinary history contained within the walls of Chez Bruce, as this was the site of Marco Pierre White's first venture 'Harveys' in the late 80s. Since 1995, Bruce Poole has kept the magic alive. The dining room is intimate and elegant, overlooking the leafy Wandsworth Common. There is no a la carte at lunch time, which I welcome in this sort of restaurant, as it tends to offer more options per course at a reasonable price.
The dining room was packed when we arrived towards the end of service but front of house were very polite and attentive. We ordered a 2008 Albariño with the help of the stand-in Sommelier which was the perfect recommendation based on our requirements. A starter of mackerel fillet with baby squid, chorizo, grape and tomato was cooked well and very refreshing if a little too sweet from the fruit. A main of sautéed Guinea Fowl with ravioli, creamed girolles, gem lettuce and tarragon was delicious and very generous but the meat was a little over-cooked and dry as a consequence. Finally, sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream served in a brandy snap was very rich, and hardly touched the sides on the way down.
The cooking here was superb but portion sizes were arguably too big. Were I not a gluttonous pig, I would have struggled to finish everything. I couldn't manage a coffee at the end which was disappointing, given the lovely looking truffles it came with. Nonetheless, I would certainly return as it was exceptional value and more pleasant than what much of 'north of the river' has to offer.
I have been to Chez Bruce 3 times now and I am delighted with it. I took my Dad the other week and he loved it.
I will be back when the Bank Balance is replenished.
My only Michelin starred experience to date, and finally I get what all the fuss is about. The food was delicious, pretty, and really really interesting. I felt like I was learning things with every look/bite. I also finally experienced a mind-blowing dessert, after years of thinking 'oh' at the end of meals out. Seriously intelligent, sensual stuff.
The service was excellent, and I appreciated the relaxed, non-flashy decor and atmosphere. This felt like somewhere well-off foodies go to eat their normal dinner, rather than a special occasion place.
However, the latter did also constitute the only negative for me. My dining partner and I are not rich foodie grown ups who had just popped in rather than cooking that night. This was a HUGE treat for us and we both felt like children throughout.
Unfortunately there were a couple of doozies. When we'd been looking at, and discussing the menu for a while, the MD came over and ask whether we would 'like to have any of the [French] words explained'. Ouch.
When the sommelier came over to discuss the extensive wine list, we pretended that we were at least a little bit interested in food matching, and tolerated her suggesions, before eventually deciding to go for the house white after all....excruciating. She knew, she always knew.
So, in conclusion, I would generally rather spend less to go somewhere where I feel completely comfortable and can afford a feast. However, really glad I went, and I heartily recommend Chez Bruce if you want to try some seriously exquisite cooking.
We have been wanting to go here for a long time ever since we heard it was London's favourite restaurant and Michelin starred. Now I see why. Six of us ate here and I heard more than one, "This is the best restaurant I've eaten at in years." Having just moved from the French-Swiss border region, I thought nothing could beat the refinement of some of the food we had there, but this restaurant did. I could go on and on about the food but the best I can say is that everyone's was absolute perfection and the staff will help you find exactly what is perfect for you.
It's not just about the food, but the service. With a friendly, professional staff and very unpretentious environment, we got expert advice on the food and wines that would suit us well and tasted some of the finest and complex wines I've ever had. One thing that some people might not like about the restaurant is that the timing of the service is more like what you would expect in France. I wouldn't say 'slow' but...'gradual.' This wasn't an issue for us because we enjoyed the conversation and it gave time for the food to digest.
Was here with a small group for a Saturday lunch, and could not have been more pleased.
The service was excellent - and considering the crazy team of people, could not have been better. Every little request was met over our 5 hour meal with pleasure. The sommelier was patient and helpful with our picky and diverse group, and the servers where wonderful.
The food was prepared to perfection. I am a very picky eater, and generally prefer ala carte dining to mix and match things I like, but the menu offered enough diversity I had no problems finding something to my taste. The wine list is superb, and I felt fairly priced - in line with London prices.
Overall, deserves the star and warrants the trek from central London on any day.
No doubt one of the best dining experiences I've had since moving to London. The £20 set menu (if booked on toptable) was extremely good value with a wide selection to chose from. Their signature starter - the foie gras parfait was a little strange at first with the presentation but it the consistency was delightful and couldn't have tasted any better. As a main, I ordered the pork variety dish with sauerkraut which was perfectly enjoyed with the cold weather and snow. Finished off the meal with a hot chocolate cake which melted in your mouth.
It was nice and cozy with lovely view of the common. Highly highly recommend.
For the quality of food and the competence of service from door to sommelier, lunch at Chez Bruce has to be one of the best dining experiences in London. It's a little out of the way down in Wandsworth Common but 3 courses for £25 (and what a 3 courses it is!) is exceptional value from a Michelin Starred Restaurant.
The sommelier picked excellent wines to accompany our dishes and everyone at the table left feeling extremely pleased with themselves! The stand out dish for me a the perfectly-pink wood pigeon main course but everything was excellent.
Great place- I'll be going back.
The restaurant was about a 35 min cab ride from my hotel, but totally worth the trek! The neighborhood that was equivalent to Manhattan's Williamsburg.
My appetizer was crab with warm artichoke barigoule and herb gnocchi. For the entrée, Roasted cod with olive oil mashed, grilled courgette, and gremolata. Desert was a muscovado custard with crème fraiche ice cream and roasted macadamia nuts. A magnificent meal!!!
Service and decor a 10! I'd go back a thousand times again!!
We had booked the special Sunday dinner offer of £30 for 3 courses. At the time of booking, the ground floor was booked up so we were offered a table in the upstairs room which overlooks Wandsworth common. When we arrived, only 2 of the 7 tables were taken but as other tables started to arrive, particularly the 2 group tables of 3 and 4, it got to be a bit too noisy. Do not book into upstairs if it is just two of you!
We ordered the sliced rare beef with leeks and hake confit for starters, Aylesbury duck with roast foie gras and sea bream was for mains, and the hot chocolate pudding and pistachio cake for dessert. All were excellent and definitely good value for money that we paid. We will definitely come back another time.
Consistently voted in the top few restaurants in London, and from my experience, rightly so. I've been here a few times, mostly for lunch when the prices are more understandable (around 25 pounds for three courses), and am always delighted by the quality of food I get.
Small but perfectly formed, with deep maroon colours and crisp table linen giving a private yet relaxed feel. Also wonderfully free of the usual hush in restaurants of this ilk. You can talk to your friends/partner without whispering!
They do the usual bread rounds (and a pastry round at the end) and the exciting extras before you begin, but what really sets it apart is the simplicity and quality of the dishes lamb cutlets with an aubergine relish or the most succulent and tender beef fillet ever and the lack of pretension to any of it. My favourite restaurant in London. So far.
My favourite dining experience in London. What I like about it most is that there is no pretention, no snootiness. They have an extensive wine menu and one of the joys of going here is to ask for the wine somellier who will go through what food you are eating, what you like, and pick an incredible bottle of wine at the price you want. Don't be embarrassed to ask.
I ate downstairs the first time I went there, but the second time, we sat upstairs, which I actually preferred. There are about 5 tables and it's more intimate and romantic, with views over Wandsworth Common.
Slightly old-fashioned, the food is modern French and incredibly delicately done. For starters there's typically foie gras, delicate soups, or fish dishes like ceviche of tuna. Mains vary from gamey dishes like guinea fowl and rabbit, and tasty fish. All I've had were superb (sadly I've lost the menu from that wonderful night, and it changes regularly). The cheese course is wonderful with a serious cheese platter arriving that you can pick from. Make sure you leave some room if you can.
All in all, we paid around around £75 each, for a 3 course meal, a bottle of wine and 2 digestifs considering you can easily pay £50 each for an OK meal in London this is incredibly reasonable. My Scottish tip is to crack open some bubbly at your flat beforehand its always tempting to have some fizz when you get to a posh restaurant but it always hits you on the bill (or ignore me and live a little..!).
Often regarded as one of the finest restaurants in London, Chez Bruce in Wandsworth is an absolute treat. 5 star dining on the fringe of Wandsworth Common. As the reviewers below mention, you can eat here affordably (dinner is very expensive mind). A 3 course lunch special will set you back £25 - Fois Gras, Tuna steak, Fresh mussels.... you'll get it all here.
Probably the best restaurants i've eaten in while i have lived in London. Possibly the best restaurant i've been to in the UK. If i could give 6 stars, i would.
This place has a devoted group of delighted customers (us included) and its easy to see why: at dinner this week the welcome was warm and relaxed, the food was largely balanced and delicious and the service was perfect.
Good selection of breads, parmesan amuse bouche simply melted in my mouth. Pate and toasted brioche? Superb. We had mixed feelings about the mains: my cod and olive mash was very tasty but partner's choucroute had no visual bite and disappointed his palate as well. The tarte tatin was excellent. After all that, I was astonished by average-tasting coffee and highly forgettable truffles.
Do go if you can.
The food here is amazing with the finest ingredients, best wine in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Not a type of restaurant that you would go to all the time as the food is very rich, and can be expensive. I went for my birthday and it cost about £120 a Head but we had allot of wine, and ate loads. Id def. Go again!!!!
Chez Bruce is a simple, unpretentious, and quiet gem for exquisite cuisine at a reasonable price for such fine dining. While my dining companion and I can point out flaws in two dishes, we had an absolutely delightful experience overall in the cozy environs across from a field/park, definitely worth the trek from Reading for out-of-towne''s first time in the UK!
Reservations were not too difficult for us, but then again, I had planned our lunch into our trip across The Pond. We sat in the downstairs room. We found the clean and understated room with nice dark wood floors pleasant. Our first server was okay, but the latter one was really great in tending to us and guiding us to the best desserts--if only we had him when ordering appetizers and entreés, it may have made our short list of best restaurants ever :-\
Onto the meat of the matter (in as much British-English as possible :-D):
1) Deep-Fried Goujon of Hake and Courgette (Zucchini to the Americans) Flower, Artichoke Barigoule, Aioli, and Spicy Tomato Sauce: A truly memorable dish. The hake was buttery inside the crispy thin crust, the courgette was divinely fried flower, the lemon and a slightly spicy tomato sauce providing a zest, along with the balancing artichoke and aioli. I cannot fathom improving upon this masterpiece. In one word: perfection.
2) Rare-Grilled Tuna with Salsa, Bok Choy, Avocado, Crème Fraîche, and Coriander: Refreshing for the warm day and vibrant in colors, but a bit bland overall.
3) Roast Thinly-Sliced Veal Rump with Asparagus, Girolles, Jersey Royals, Roasting Juices, and Grilled Parmesan: The best veal dish I have ever had! So memorable was this dish, it inspired us to recreate it at home with rib-eye. As with the hake, the veal was masterfully composed and each ingredient maintained its identity yet complemented one another. Also, perfect.
4) Branzino with Provençale Vegetables Relish, Grilled Baby Squid, Almonds, and Sauce Nero: While we love the fish, squid, and squid ink sauce, but the composition got overwhelmingly busy and the pickled relish was too tangy and mash a bit too starchy.
5) Woodland Strawberries of Kent with Crème Chantilly, Strawberry Couli, and Vanilla Shortbread: The most exquisite strawberries in their natural glory and perfectly paired with the Crème Brûlée.
6) Crème Brûlée: Simple but well prepared. While somewhat plain by itself being without any berries, it worked perfectly with the Strawberries. I was also happy we did not order a chocolate dessert because we got deep-flavored dark chocolate truffles to put the closing touches on a fine meal.
All in all, an exquisite meal, worth the hike out from London, and a value at that (I clicked four quid symbols, but it's really about 35 quid/person for lunch and 55 quid for dinner).
One of my favourites for a treat, every dish is executed to a high level, top French food! Love the fact that the atmosphere is quite casual & not snobby unlike some other Michelin star establishments. Do lunch & do dinner.
I was expecting a lot from Chez Bruce given the rave reviews I'd read, but I was not impressed. This is a Michelin star restaurant? First of all, the food is TOO salty. I have never felt so thirsty after a meal. Perhaps I need to try this place for dinner, but the dishes I had for lunch were not impressive at all.
It's difficult to say anything original or new about a place that has been so widely and generously praised by critics, connoisseurs and ordinary diners alike. I had high expectations but tried to control them. The fact is, this is a great restaurant. The service is charming and the ambience is relaxed and informal. It is, ultimately, all about the food. No tasting menu, just three courses plus cheese if you want to go to paradise. The ideas are broad and eclectic, the flavours and textures profound, almost emotional. I can't fault the food, it's truly outstanding. The sommelier was helpful and enthusiastic. And the whole thing is great value. Well worth the hassle of getting a reservation. Long may this restaurant live - it's fantastic.
A lovely, lovely place - attentive staff, a worthy menu, and attentive and helpful staff.A gem, and a place that holds special memories for me, as we had our wedding breakfast here ( there is a small private room into which you can squeeze 17 or so people). It escapes a five star rating from me only becuase it, perhaps, doesn't have the same sense of fun, as , well, some other restaurants in the same flight ( there aren't many, and none south of the river). I won't muddy the water with menu choices - it changes regularly - although I'd highly recommend wood pigeon if it's there when you visit.
Michelin starredand pricy but worth it. The wine list is amazingand the food is faultless. Not cordon bleuportions either. Fantastic quality and the duck is out of this world as is the homemade ice cream. Been twice anddefinitelygoing again!
We'd been wanting to eat at Chez Bruce for quite some time and it did not disappoint when we got round to it. The final bill was more hefty than we'd been expecting (it's amazing how things add up when you start the evening with an aperetif!). The cote du boeuf (I think that's how you spell it) to share was magnificent and done to perfection, with awe-inspiringly-good chips and all served on a board. I would have rated Chez Bruce five stars but the desserts we had were nothing special.
great french cuisine and at £20 for lunch this is a great deal. One of the best lunch deals I've had!
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