Bistro Bruno Loubet

I’m not going to pretend I had heard of Bruno Loubet before he opened his restaurant in London and I am Australian where he has been hiding out for the last eight years. I’m also pretty sure that lots of the reviews referring to the “famous chef Bruno Loubet” can’t remember him cooking in London either. Anyway, Bruno is back along with his particular style of French bistro style cooking. I decided to go and check what the fuss was about with Krista and Alice.

Bistro Bruno Loubet opened at the start of this year in what was a fairly soulless and lacklustre hotel dining room attached to the Zetter. All of a sudden, with the inclusion of some comfortable looking sofas in a corner, a few vintage looking lamps and a jumble of wooden bistro tables and chairs, the place feels warm and buzzy.
Bread is baked in flower pots, a bit of an affectation but good bread
We got off to a bad start with the restaurant informing us when we confirmed the booking that our 7pm table had to be vacated by 9pm, something that there was no mention of when the original booking was made. I do hate being table turned. Other than this hitch, service was amiable and proficient, our waitress in particular was friendly and helpful with our menu queries.

“Revised” Lyonnaise salad
The menu features lots of French bistro classics with a twist, like the “revised” Lyonnaise salad (£7) which included deep fried pressed pigs ears and trotters alongside the standard fricasse lettuce leaves, crispy bacon bits and soft boiled egg. It was a meal in itself really and I was delighted with the added piggy products. Boudin blanc (£7) was a fat, generous sausage made with guinea fowl and sitting on a leek sauce. The sausage was almost fluffy in texture and incredibly rich. For me, it was just too rich and the texture was all a little too much blancmange but Alice loved it. Pea soup (£6.50) was vibrant and a perfect spring dish.
Boudin blanc
From the mains, the wood pigeon (£15.50) was a stonking dish. Two almost rare pigeon breasts sat on a bead of quinoa and thinly sliced cauliflower. The delicately flavoured accompaniments let the earthiness of the pigeon shine and this was one of the best dishes I have had all year. Not so impressive was the lamb shoulder (£16) which bizarrely came served as a huge, round ball of lamb. There was far too much lamb there and it also suffered from being too dry.

The rich, French food left us all too full for dessert which must be some sort of record, instead we had our dessert in liquid form with a glass of dessert wine to finish off which had a lovely honey flavour. This followed on from a bottle of the Bandol rosé (£37) over dinner which was crisp and not too cloying.
We didn’t have a seamless experience at Bistro Bruno Loubet with our rocky start and a few hits and misses on the food front. That said, I enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant and some of the dishes were real stunners. The reasonable pricing was also a welcome surprise. Welcome back Bruno, even though I hadn’t realised you were gone in the first place.
Details: 86 -88 Clerkenwell road, Clerkenwell EC1M 5RJ (Ph 020 7324 4455) Tube: Farringdon
Damage: Reasonable
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my reviews of some other great French restaurants in london – try Cafe du Marche or Galvin Bistrot De Luxe.

Bistrot Bruno Loubet on Urbanspoon


  1. Yay, someone else who admits they hadn’t heard of him until this place opened…
    Seem to be way too many people, mostly a lot younger than me, who have an uncanny ability to imply they knew who he was beforehand, rather than admit they just picked up the info from elsewhere!!!
    The pigeon dish looks fabulous!

  2. Nice read, good honest review GC. I’ve yet to visit Bistro Bruno Loubet but am looking forward to giving it a try soon.

  3. agreed with you both on this one….

    Why would anyone have heard of him unless you love food in the Brisbane area…. people talk some right tosh !

    Fortunately, (due to the fact that my family live and Brisbane) I have had the pleasure of dining at Bruno’s Tables and Baguette and rated the experience.

    I just hope people evaluate his food for what it is (good or bad) and not be affected by the PR hype.

  4. Everyone seems to be talking about BBistro Bruno Loubet right now – looks like standard-good French fare… have you been to Eastside Inn and how does that compare?

  5. This is next on my places to visit, so it’s great to read such a well-written review and I’ll definitely be trying that pigeon dish. I’m sure I’ll be with you on the richness of the dishes, I guess a lot of the critics just become immune don’t they?

  6. Kavey- Google has a lot to answer for…

    Dan – i think you would like it – your type of food – fit it in before you go!

    Gregory – Wow did you have your blog then and review them?

    Catty – I have been to Eastside inn (although I didn’t blog it) and I think the food at Eastside Inn is more traditional bistro fare while the food here was a bit more quirky.

    Gastrogeek – thanks – the pigeon dish was a real highlight so I would recommend that for sure

  7. I actually had a nasty experience recently when dining at this place.

    The evening began very well when my dinner companion and I had a drink at the bar. We then sat down for dinner. The starters were very good… however, the main courses were lacking. My pigs trotter was cooked very well but had minimal taste and my friend needed a chainsaw to cut through her rabbit.

    When we complained to the manager he had the audacity to state not once but several times that our comments were based on the complaints that the table next to us made!

    After I told the manager that his interpersonal skills were severely lacking (insulting even!) he came with a feeble apology but still insisted that it was not the cooking that was at fault but because it was “not to our taste”.

    Is it surprising that the two tables who complained about their food that evening were foodies who work in the restaurant trade??!

    The floor manager’s smarm and attitude left us with a very bitter taste in our mouths.

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