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SHOWCASE - Bruno Loubet

Zee Frenchman at zee Zetter

Written by . Published on March 15th 2012.

SHOWCASE - Bruno Loubet

Bruno Loubet is a man moving between rooms at a cocktail party, shaking hands, a diplomat, being polite to different styles.

For breakfast there is a wry joke of a pea pancake

In this room we have the tradition, the bouillabaisse. Even more peasant stuff he borrowed from his grandmother and took up to the big house – the Meurette snails with meatballs, royale of wild mushrooms. Or the heavy, filling, granny gratin of Jersusalem artichokes.

BrunoquennelleBruno - the quenelleIn this room we are flirting with north Africa – the rabbit pastilla with a carrot salad. But then we have to be correct and have a ballotine of foie gras, lemon glaze, green bean salad, toasted almonds. It is always in the detail that his cooking is interesting.

Loubet has often threatened to produce a great restaurant, a great cuisine more than once. The current ambition beyond here in Clerkenwell at the Zetter Hotel and the upcoming cafe at Kings Cross is a small restaurant with a vegetable led cuisine, not as extreme as Alain Passard in Paris but something that rhymes with the move towards Forks Over Knives or a diet where vegetables have the lead part.  

His heart is in vegetables and slowly the economicum on the plate brings this out more and more. There is barely three escabeche of sardines beneath the stewed onions and peppers and the mousse of pequillo peppers. That is not a criticsm but a compliment to a man who has understood the value of flavours on the plate. The sardines are a small smack of umami to bring out the natural sweet, fiery flavours of the vegetables – one moussed, the other soft ribbons.

BrunomashBruno - the mashMash is full of garlic and herbs.

For breakfast – this is after all a restaurant attached to a hotel – there is a wry joke of a pea pancake topped with poached egg and griddled bacon, beautiful to look at, surprising, a nod to mushy peas and his adopted home town. Filling in a very guttural sense.

The quenelles – now there is something not seen often in London – are made of egg white, salmon and scallop with a lobster sauce and brought to the table in a little black pan. A move back to his roots.

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