French cuisine has had a tough time over the last few years. Once viewed as the grande dame of the British restaurant scene (its lord and saviour in many ways), nowadays it’s seen as more of a senile old man – stubbornly refusing to change with the modern times. This is, of course, a complete fallacy, and I have just the restaurant to prove it: the brand new and superb Cabotte.
Masters of Wine, Xavier Rousset and Gearoid Devaney, are the magicians behind this belle epoque space, bursting at the seams with a 600-strong wine list specialising in Burgundy. Convinced yet? Here’s the kicker: it’s in the heart of the City, serves hearty-yet-refined bistro fare and still manages to afford excellent value.
For Rousset and Devaney, this is much more than an excellent money spinner (fine wine and comfort food in the City? That’ll never work…), it’s a labour of love. The name Cabotte comes from the small growers’ huts you’ll find in the vineyards of Burgundy, and as you’d expect the wine list focuses strongly on the region.
Request the restaurant’s full wine list and you’ll be greeted with a tome of uncovered gems. Sure, it’s possible to splash a couple of grand on one of the big labels (hey, this is our Bonus Issue), but this is a place for discovery. Speaking of which, I’m pointed in the direction of Domaine de Montille, Les Sizies, 1er Cru – a truly top-notch Côte de Beaune. It’s pure-as-can-be pinot noir, which pairs perfectly with medium-rare mustard pork chop and even the luscious tarte tartin to share for dessert.
There are other nice flourishes throughout the meal, too. Service is the right side of casual, with Rousset and Devaney whizzing around the floor to offer oenophilic insight. Then there’s the plate of gougères on arrival, warm from the oven and pairing remarkably well with champagne. Everything here is simply as it should be – French has found favour once again, and it tastes so good.
For more information, cabotte.co.uk