Few new openings excite me these days, but then few places are like Casse-Croûte. Opened just a little less than a month ago is this petit Gallic bistro in Bermondsey. Own and run by the general manager of the Tapas bar, José just across the road. Sitting only about 20-covers, this charming bistro serves authentic, classic French dishes alongside with an all-French wine list.
Much thoughts have been placed in the interior as once stepped through the doors, you can't help but feels like you have been transported to a typical rustic French restaurant. The intimate red leather banquette seatings, the red and white gingham tablecloths, pastiche posters and hanging copper pans. Even the chalk scribbled menu board that changes daily and the charcuterie board are in French as were the background music playlist (French radio station no less). The odd let slips of french phrases from the waiting staff and of course, the owner himself, further contributed to this gallic fantasy. Oh là là!
Just like the ambience, the price too, were carefully considered and reasonably priced, offering some cracking value for money delicious grub. Grab a stool by the cosy bar or squeeze yourself into the intimate dining seating, either way, this is a great place to dine in and has already made it onto my favourite restaurant list.
Of the few times I have been, I had some stonkinly good charcuterie and rillette de Porc (potted pork). Salade Niçoise - a classic that was ruined by many but not here, fresh, clean tasting with enough vinaigrette to coat the salad and not drown it.
Ragoût D'escargot, crêpe vonnassiene, a dish of snail ragout with lardon on potato pancakes, so good that I have made a point to order it again next time it reappears on the menu.
Coppa Corse (£4.50) Rosette de Lyon (£4.50) :
Salade Niçoise (£7.50) :
Ragoût D'escargot, crêpe vonnassiene (£7.50) :
Provençale Razor Clams (£7) :
Provençale razor clams served tender with sweet chopped tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs. Coq au Vin, another much misinterpreted French classic came with rich, unctuous sauce. The chicken was just that bit off the mark and verged on the fine line between dry and moist but without a doubt, one the better Coq au Vin that I have had.
Mignon de porc, ventréche Alsacienne, Comté was excellent. Pork fillet, stuffed with salty bacon served with creamy cheesy mash, thanks to the magnificent Comté. What made this stood out was the pork fillet, moist and juicy and exceedingly well cooked. And a dish of skate, which was boned and stuffed with roasted tomatoes and spinach, too was utterly delightful. Tangy and salty capers cut through the sweet fleshy fish.
Coq au vin (£13.50) :
Mignon de porc, ventréche Alsacienne, Comté (£12.50) :
Raie Poêlée, Ecrasée de P.D.T. (£12.50) :
Paris-Brest and the Strawberries tart (tarte aux fraises) were my favourite out of all the puddings I've tried so far. The former has the creamiest hazelnut praline cream sandwich between light choux pastry, although crunchier than expected, actually yield a pretty delicious combination. The strawberry tart was simply divine - fresh, vibrant and original.
Paris-Brest (£4.50) :
Creme caramel (£4.50) :
Raspberries Soufflé glacé (£4.50) :
Tarte aux fraises (£4.50) :
This place is like a little Paris tucked in the backyard of one of the finest dining corners in London. A perfect addition to this side of town and one that made no fanfare or hype to get its diners to return. All they relied on are some quirky Gallic charm and great food. Perhaps it might be too French and twee for some and in all honesty, I have never been to a restaurant in Paris as 'French' as this but trust the Francophile in me to fall head over heels with the Gallic dream.