Thursday 7 July 2011

Bistro du Vin, Clerkenwell

Cote de boeuf 

As much as I'm not normally one for chains, the brains behind the Bistro du Vin restaurants know their steak and they know their wine. This is a pretty good start to get me through the door. While the menus are all largely comprised of classic, unpretentious bistro fare, each chef puts his own stamp on the restaurant using local, seasonal, good quality British produce. The suppliers are listed on the back of the menu for some pre-dinner reading.

So, the addition of
Bistro du Vin to the increasingly gourmet hub that is Clerkenwell (on the site of the former Eastside Inn) is a welcome addition to the fold. (And I'm more than a teensy bit excited that an even newer branch opened in Dean St Soho this month, which I anticipate will become a regular local haunt for me and TPG. Stay tuned.)

The bar area has been livened up since the Eastside Inn days (it was always my least favourite part of the site), and although the decor is still lingering a little on the staid side, it's busy. In any case, all is well after a warm welcome, some freebie olives and pistachios and the fast provision of the excellent house marmalade martini. 

We walk past the small private dining room - which faces on to the street and features meats ageing in a glass enclosure (mental note to remember for future dinner parties) - to the main bistro. The fabulous open kitchen surrounded by a U shaped bar (for casual meals) has been retained from the Eastside Inn days. TPG and I have in mind to pop back for a burger and some fine wine at the bar. Well spaced tables and chocolate leather banquettes fill up quickly, and the atmosphere is cosy but lively.

Both our waiter and sommelier are knowledgeable about the food and wine - they know their stuff and give the impression of some real passion behind the business. We felt safe to leave the wine matching in the sommelier's hands and had no regrets. We drank by the glass to match each course, and there's a wine vending machine with some top notch bottles to be sampled without breaking the bank.

After some creamy prosciutto with figs, we start with the peppery, sweet Cornish crab and toasted sourdough and fresh, seasonal English asparagus with sauce ravigote.

Although the night's special stargazey pie was tempting, once you've seen the meat ageing on the way in, its hard to go past the steaks. We order the meaty 600g bone in sirloin from Belton Galloway (£30) and the rich, tender Cote de Boeuf from Donald Russell (£43). They're beautifully cooked and full of flavour - straight from the magic of the smoky, hot Josper charcoal grill.

If that's not enough oomph for you, you'll love the hefty side servings of roasted bone marrow to scoop on top. The thin fries were crisped up to perfection.

A strawberry sundae is loaded up with meringue and cream, but I prefer my profiteroles with ice-cream and warm chocolate sauce.

Aside from the quality of the wine, food and service, another plus is the value factor. I was invited to review so I didn't pay - but I'll happily eat here on my own coin any time.  Prices are around £5.75 - £9.50 for entrees, £12.95 - £16.50 for mains (more for the steaks), and the "plats du jour" are very reasonably priced. 

If wine's your thing, look out for the wine tasting dinners too - they sound rather special. Prices vary.

Bistro Du Vin, 38-42 St John Street, Clerkenwell, EC1M 4DL (Tel: 020 7490 9230)

Greedy Diva was a guest of Bistro Du Vin.

Bistro du Vin on Urbanspoon


  1. those frites! last time i was there they did NOT look so incredible! I know the bone marrow and steak are a must. I think bistro du vin is a fixture now its just simple food cooked to perfection.

  2. It all looks amazing - love those fries. Could do with a tiny bit of rock salt and rosemary though for aesthetics (as at the square pig?) - great post.

  3. I have just got to ask about those meats in the window. What happens when the sun gets around there and starts to bake it's way through the window? I know how I'd feel if I were a leg of lamb on the other side of the glass - and I wouldn't be fit for consumption at the end of it. Maybe it's refrigerated? I'm guessing it'd have to be - but surely it is a wicked waste of power. Oh dear, is that terribly staid and unexciting of me to wonder that? :)

  4. I agree with you - Bistro du Vin is not your average chain restaurant - and I already love the Soho outpost.


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