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I was at Chez Bruce on Dec 31 which was wife’s birthday, a most pleasant venue I had rarely frequented on the grounds of it being less than half a mile away from Chez Moi. I was nearly able to swim down the road in the rain and the local ducks waved merrily, their favourite weather.
The set menu had no less than eight choices for each of the three courses, which I regard as excellent (£32.50, brilliant in a Michelin star venue). But the best way to get killed in places of this genre is the wine list which featured some fairly humdrum Burgundies and Rhone like Crozes Hermitage at staggering prices of between £65-£75. This is unreasonable. Far from unreasonable were the Bellinis, which we hoovered up with enormous relish.
Considerations of frugality and lightness of libation lead me inevitably to Burgundy rather than ageing Clarets but I still found everything quite ridiculous on the wine list until I came across a Cabernet Franc from the Loire (Touraine). All Australian Shiraz and Cab Sauv had been dismissed out of hand as being quite absurd almost by definition, as well as being conducive to headaches, and if you gamble with Italians you’d be wiser to attend a casino. Preposterously, they even had Swiss wine in the Carte des Vins but a three figure sum for an indifferent bottle from Tobleroneterre would have been like setting fire to Francs. Not that Swiss wines are bad, on the contrary, but they do not travel well and the currency virtually prevents it.
However, the delightful little Cabernet Franc number was much lighter than any Cabernet Sauvignon as one might expect, yet it was subtle, incredibly fruity and brilliant with the lièvre and boudin blanc, etc., along with pork. In the dessert section the quince was absolutely impeccable.
The service was first rate with a helpful but not pushy sommelier. A delightful experience.
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Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8
Thursday, January 02, 2014