Bellevue Rendezvous

Yes I have been getting out and about a lot lately. This review will be up on Huffington Post soon too but I thought I would give you a sneak preview.

Bellevue Rendezvous is a charming little French restaurant on the corner of Wandsworth Common. When you don’t feel like parting with the entire contents of your wallet to eat at Chez Bruce, but want to eat somewhere in the neighbourhood, this is your answer. Run by a French couple (who seem to be the only waiting staff), you will be treated to French classics like Coq au Vin, Bavette Steak and Duck Confit. There is nothing overworked about the dishes here, it is unpretentious, rustic, very good French cooking for a very good price.

The menu is short but offers a range of different types of meals, from fish to duck to stews. I started with the traditional French Onion Soup (£7), which had a blob of cheese floating in its centre (as it rightly should!). The cheese was nothing to write home about, and truthfully neither was the soup, but there was nothing wrong with it either. If anything (and how often can you say this with French cooking) it needed more salt.

Fellow diners at my table chose the roast goats cheese and beetroot salad (£6.50) which had delightfully tangy beetroot and a large round of hot, astonishingly good goats cheese. Men at the table made ridiculous happy food sounds while devouring their ‘home-made’ foie gras terrine with onion jam (£9). I don’t do foie gras, so didn’t sample it, but given the speed with which they inhaled it, and the slightly licked-looking plates they left behind, I can only deduce that it was entirely fabulous.

Foie Gras

To follow, I ordered the bavette steak with shallots and sauteed potatoes, but part way through our evening I saw something else being delivered to a nearby diner and got a serious case of food envy. The staff were very accommodating and let me change my order to the dish I had seen, guinea fowl with carrot mash and ceps (£15). It was a good trade, and I was very happy with my food when it arrived; the guinea fowl was tender and juicy with a very rich but tasty carrot mash beneath. The ceps were a little too buttery for my palate, but we are dealing with French cooking here, so it is not a criticism of the restaurant, more a comment on what is manageable for my personal taste. (It is important to add, I ate them all anyway because the flavour was excellent). I got to try the steak, and although it was very good (and an extremely large portion of thick-cut steak for £14!!), it had clearly been cooked in butter, which slightly overwhelmed the taste of the meat.

Guinea Fowl

The coq au vin (dish of the day at £18) was very basic, but hearty and good.  Venison filet with roast vegetables and caramelized apples marked the most expensive menu item at £21.50. The venison was beautifully cooked, and the zing in the caramelized apple provided just the required freshness to the dish to complement the rich sauce.

After two rather fabulous bottles of 2008 Chataeau Tour de Calens (at a reasonable £30 per bottle) I was ready to get the party started. Three chocolate fondant for the table please and a bottle of the 2009 Sauternes (at £20 a bottle…a total steal). The fondant took some time to cook, and one of the three broke open in the kitchen apparently, so they remade it and presented it a little later than the first two. This was no issue, however, as they compensated by pouring us more of the Sauternes, a sure way to keep any diner happy while they wait. Perfectly cooked, incredibly tasty fondant with a small round of vanilla bean icecream makes for a great finale at Bellevue Rendezvous, although I recommend getting one each, otherwise marital problems could ensue.

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There was no possible way I could stuff in anything else, but the elaborate selection of cheese (which you can sample any of with the cheese plate) was winking at me before we got the bill. Not this time, but one of many reasons to go back.

At £50 per person for a 3-course meal with copious amounts of excellent French wine, Bellevue Rendezvous makes an excellent choice for a fun night out with friends, or a romantic dinner for two. You could easily get out the door having enjoyed a bottle of wine and two courses for £30-£35 per person. A clear favourite with the locals, and you can see why.

Bellevue Rendezvous, 218 Trinity Road, SW177HP, 02087675810

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