Renna's Discoveries: Cote Brasserie in St. Albans

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Cote Brasserie in St. Albans

For our Girlie Christmas Dinner, we decided to go to Cote Brasserie in St Albans. This is a group of French Restaurants, that are spread all over the UK and we now have one near us, which is brilliant. We have all heard great reviews and one of us has actually been to one in London before. So we knew we were onto a winner.
I was greeted at the door and the waiter promptly took me over to our table.
There was just the four of us (the rest were unfortunately unwell) so we had a nice small table at the back of the restaurant. It was incredibly busy, even at 7pm, it felt very full.
The restaurant itself, is lovely and has that Warm Cosy feeling about it, due to having dark wood everywhere.
Where I was seated, I could see the kitchen service area which I always love watching. The chefs were very composed throughout the evening. Very professional.
My friends ordered Champagne (as they all work and have ridiculous sized wallets). The first bottle was promptly brought over and opened, (whilst spraying over the back of my beautiful new red top....a quick apology and that was it) the waitress then poured us all a glass to start our evening off.
 Cheers and Merry Christmas !
The menu was pretty extensive, however, I saw Scallops and Seafood Linguine and didn't bother looking anymore. I always like to have fish when I'm out as I rarely cook it at home.

Have a look at the menu :

Wine List
Looks good hey ! 
It really didn't take long for my friends to decide either. 

Starters : 
Three of us chose the Scallops
Why oh why do restaurant insist on using a pile of rocket leaves to hide food ? 
Oh yes ....... This is why! 
Presentation could have been so much better. However, it didn't take long to finish it, it was delicious. Scallops could have done with a touch more time, but, they were cooked at least and very succulent! I never think three is enough, I'd happily have an extra one or two.
Main Course:
This is the Pan Roasted Pork Belly with Potato and Caramelised Apple.

This is the Rump of Lamb with Potatoes and Vegetables.

This is the Half Chargrilled 'Breton' Chicken with Chips.

Here's my Linguine with Seafood.
The presentation for some of these dishes really needs a rethink in my opinion. A couple have that 'quick just throw it on the plate' look about them.
However, my friends were all really pleased with their dishes and finished them off. Mine, didn't get finished. The linguine was way too aldente for me. I don't enjoy chewing pasta, I 
enjoy eating it with no effort. I also had shell shrapnel in the dish, which I had to subtlety remove into a napkin. I did inform the waiter, but he just apologised.......
Rolls eyes! 
From looking at the other dishes, they were all cooked to perfection, and all were very tasty.
This is my friends Tarte Fine aux Pommes, which is described as crisp puff pastry with finely layered apples. Luckily, this photo was taken before my friend picked up the plate and tipped it up for another picture......when we all watched the ice-cream roll off the plate.....(too much Champagne by this point I think ) followed by all of us laughing uncontrollably. 
She didn't actually enjoy this dessert and made me finish it. I thought, it was delicious, and very light. It had crushed sugar on top which I loved.
I decided on the Chocolate Fondant. I Love chocolate and this is a typical Renna dessert, 
but on this occasion, it was way to sweet and sickly for me. This really surprised my friends. So I gave mine to my Apple Tarte friend. She loved it! It was really gooey in the middle and cooked perfectly. 
Its great to share !
One thing I really hate when out dining is ....Food Envy! So dining with great friends or the husband means everyone can try a bit of everything. Which I do!  

There's always a time when you just don't fancy a sweet dessert, which is where the amazing Cheese Platter comes into play. I find that they are all very similar. So, if you like cheese, this is always a great choice. My friend had hers with Dessert Wine and explained that it compliments each bite of cake or cheese. She's right too, although I couldn't drink a whole glass with a sweet dessert, but, I may try it with cheese next time.
This cheese platter came with bread, no horrible dry crackers but no chutney or pickle (?).
Summary : most of the plates were completely finished. So I'd say that was a really good sign. 
I would go back, but I wouldn't order the same again. The menu has some great choices, so there is something for everyone. The prices were reasonable too. The desserts should be a pound less or maybe they need to add more ice-cream. When I arrived, I noticed a lot of families seated at the front of the restaurant. I didn't get to look at the Children's menu. So I might go with the family for a special occasion in the future. They do a fantastic value Set Menu, that may be the better option for us.
Have a quick look.

I would recommend Cote Brasserie in St Albans, but be careful what you choose.

Have a look at their website for locations to see if you are lucky enough to have one near you.