Saturday, 10 March 2012

French Living, Nottingham

Dinner for three in Nottingham last Tuesday night. It's not often I eat French food, so I had high hopes for French Living. It's a well established fixture on the Nottingham dining scene, serving classic French bistro food.

We started with a few nibbles; - bread, vinegar and oil, olives and saucisson sec. The bread and olives were nothing special but pleasant enough. I enjoyed the saucisson, which was mildly cured, fatty and moreish.

Onglet à l'Echalote for me, a large slab of skirt steak in a shallot and veal stock sauce. The steak itself was a beauty, properly rare as requested and strongly flavoured. It was also impressively tender, tricky to pull off with this cut. I picked the winner with this, a pricier rib-eye across the table looked a little thin and weedy in comparison, though it was declared a success.

The sauce was rich and reduced, perfectly nice but superfluous really. Every time I eat a sauce covered steak it just re-inforces my view that the main purpose of steak sauces is to mask inferior meat. If it's a good quality piece of beef, which this was, let the meat take centre stage I say.

The sauteed potatoes and vegetables were both fine, nice crispy bits on the spuds and al dente veg.

Cassoulet Toulousain was, I think, a classic rendition. It's not a dish I'm very familiar with but all the components were there;- soft, stewed beans, sausage and duck hidden beneath a breadcrumb crust. I tried a bit and really liked it. Definitely something I'll be ordering in the future.

The puddings we had were, putting it bluntly, a bit rubbish. Peach melba was made with crap ice-cream. You know the yellow coloured Cornish stuff from the supermarket? That. A chocolate cake was rather dry and needed a more generous hand with the custard to save it.

Dessert aside a good meal. Service was efficient and suitably Gallic, and prices are reasonable. Our bill came to £85 but that did include two bottles of decent Pinot Noir and 10% service. Worth a visit.


27 King Street

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