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Le Bouchon Breton
1st Floor
8 Horner Square
Old Spitalfields Market
London E1 6EW
Tel: 08000 191 704

Food type: French Bistro

Food rating: 2/10

Nearest tube: Liverpool Street

Website: Le Bouchon Breton

Times seem to be hitting the restaurant scene hard – only 5 other tables were occupied when I visited on a Saturday evening. The bar area was completely empty. This, despite the restaurant running various promotions in an attempt to bring in customers. It is one of these promotions that enticed us to revisit, promising us a bottle of house champagne when we purchased a Plateau Imperial of Fruit de Mer. Prices remain unchanged although wisely, the menu du jour is now available past 7 pm. The wine list needs a serious rethink with few bottles under the £30 mark and some vintages running above £2000 (Domaine Romano Conti).

A starter of Deep Fried Frogs Legs was timed well, served with a lovely tartare sauce spiked with plenty of cornichons and capers. The frogs leg had good texture, with crisp batter although it could have done with better seasoning. (2/10) J’s Pan Fried Foie Gras with Sultana and Grape Sauce had liver which was distinctly hard – perhaps because the liver had been stored in the fridge to long – instead of having a runny, almost molten texture. The combination of the liver with a sultana and grape sauce is a signature at Le Gavroche and it is clear that chef Nicholas Lariden has drawn from his experience working there.  Execution was less than stellar, with the sauce having an almost honey-like consistency (2/10).

The Fruit de Mer, which I had hugely enjoyed last time around, was very disappointing featuring lobster and crab which was dry to the bone and a few mussels which were clearly bad. The contents of the platter is less generous than before. There were no langoustines, 4 prawns instead of 6 and a miserly ONE clam palourde. Evidently the restaurant is not doing well during these hard times and this has affected the quality of their seafood. Instead of throwing away seafood which was less than stellar or even use them in many ingenious ways (for example making a lobster ravioli) they have instead decided to serve them here. This is simply very poor value for money, even with the free bottle of champagne thrown in especially when you can get a platter of superior quality at Fish & Grill for about half the price they are charging here. (0/10)

For dessert we shared a Prune Clafoutis served with Prunes Soaked in Armagnac & Cream which had rubbery texture but was at least edible. (2/10)

Service was still friendly and attentive. I am deeply saddened to see a restaurant which I had enjoyed so much during my last visit to have gone downhill tremendously. I have since adjusted my overall score from 5/10 to 2/10 to reflect this.  If the cooking continues in this manner, I can’t envision them staying open much longer, even with the backing of the Roux family.

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