Okay, it’s hard to think about London right now while I’m having a leisurely breakfast in Florence, but I must warn you about Brasserie Blanc. My recent experience left me unimpressed with no desire to go back.
Brasserie Blanc seemed like the perfect find. Situated near London tourist trap central, I thought we managed to escape the overpriced chain restaurants that most tourists get sucked into. Brasserie Blanc is just a short distance from all of the well-known South Bank attractions and just a short walk from Waterloo. In between the London Eye (a London Checklist Don’t) and Shrek’s Adventure (you’ll see) we headed to the French restaurant for lunch. For the proximity to those activities, it got an A. But after that, the experience unraveled.
Brasserie Blanc is tucked away on Belvedere Road. You enter on the ground level, then take a few steps down to give the restaurant a true basement feel. The layout and decor didn’t do the dark, windowless space any favors. Tables were lined up in one long open space. There was nothing to break up the vast area. I would have liked to see dividers, tables and chairs of different height, larger decor, anything to stop the eye from panning across such openness. The colors were also too cool for something that felt so cold. A little warmth and flowers would go a long way. And they must do something about their ceiling. It’s basic, with many vents, making the room feel like a church basement where AA is held or the castaway training room that most companies have. I was not a fan of the space.
I was a fan, however, of the deal. Their lunch special is priced just right. A glass of wine, appetizer, and entree was just about £20.00. Not bad at all. And the food was worth the price. Nothing too outstanding, but we all seemed to enjoy what we had ordered. The salad special with the Gorgonzola dressing was nice once we added salt and pepper. We were a little disappointed that there were no visible pieces of the cheese in the dish. The fish entree looked beautiful with the saffron aioli stealing the show, but again, nothing really wowed us.
Perhaps the meals would have tasted better if we were not already expecting to be disappointed. After spending the majority of our visit frustrated by the confused staff, we had low expectations for the quality of the food. From the moment we arrived, we knew we were going to have a problem. The hostess sat us without barely saying a word. Her lack of energy and enthusiasm was not great for a patron’s first impression of the restaurant. After being seated, it took a good ten minutes for someone to come over to us. Starved, and pressed for time before our next adventure, we ordered everything at once, asking for cocktails, water, and giving our lunch special selections. There was a wait for the drinks, and we had to remind the server about the water. Then she brought one of us our salad starters, then took it back, saying it wasn’t for us, then brought it back again realizing it was. Deja vu a half hour later, and the server brought the wrong tables meal to us, and took it back yet again, teasing us with a pretty portion of someone else’s fries. Now everyone was nice enough, but when it came to efficiently waiting on tables, the restaurant was at a loss.
The food didn’t wow me, the ambiance was cold with unimpressive decor, and the service was pretty awful. All those things add up to a pretty big don’t. Do yourself a favor, and skip Brasserie Blanc!
9 Belvedere Road
London SE1 8YL