|Lamb with lentils & bacon
While I don't usually go for chain restaurants, each Bistro du Vin has its own personality. The thing about the new Soho branch is the cheese room - La Cave a Fromage - where you can get unlimited (unlimited!) cheese for £12.50. At this point, I'm picturing myself getting kicked out at 4am a la Homer Simpson at The Frying Dutchman. Differences aside, the quality, unfussy bistro fare and reasonable prices are consistent with its siblings.
As a testimony to my love of the Bistros du Vin, you can see my earlier reviews of the Clerkenwell and Cheltenham branches here. Food is impeccably sourced and cooked with skill. The staff are friendly and knowledgable about the food and wine, and they share a interest and passion in their product and service which makes you feel good about eating there. Surrounds are relaxed and lively.
When I visited the Soho branch recently, service was still a bit green - while some of the waiters that we knew from the Clerkenwell branch were as professional as ever, some of the newbies were not so personable (for instance, the cheese platter was left at our table without any explanation of what cheeses they were - they all turned out to be fabulous in any event, and we got the low down on them on request when we flagged someone down). I hope it's not a sign of some chainlike indifference creeping into the fold. I'm keeping my faith for now and putting it down to teething.
Our food and wine were a class act, as ever - lobster bisque, gorgeous, pink lamb in a rich stew of firm lentils and bacon, and salty, crisp seabass with fennel and lime. Buttery sweet carrots were a terrific side, although fries were disappointingly limp. At the launch party a few days earlier, we'd been wowed by a fabulous array of seafood and Josper grilled steaks (what the Bistros du Vin do best, in my opinion) and heaving tables of cheeses and sweets.
Of the desserts, a warm creamy chocolate tart with Chantilly cream and rapsberries was the pick of the night.
The wine list is excellent and reasonable value, and the house summer cocktail of Pimms with Chase Vodka and raspberry is also one to try.
One for a long, easy meal, or stop by for a burger at the bar. Don't miss the cheese and charcuterie.
Bistro du Vin, 36 Dean Street Soho, W1D 4PS, Tel: 020 7432 4800
Greedy Diva was a guest of Bistro Du Vin.