August 21, 2014 French, soup, West End 4 Comments

Soup

Soup

I’d had the considerable privilege to visit L’Institut Francais on Randolph Crescent earlier this year, for the press launch of Budding Chefs. What I wasn’t aware of was that they had a little cafe/bistro, Le Bistrot, hidden away in their double basement.

After having run in to Vincent Guerin on arrival and had a little catch up on how their Festival programme was going, I popped downstairs.

Espresso

Espresso

Ostensibly the coffee room for the Institut, during the Festival it is open every day there’s a show on to offer meals to revellers. These include Gallic classics like croque monsieur, cheese and wine, as well as a daily changing specials board.

On my visit, I started with tomato soup (£3) then followed with a croque monsieur (£5). I took a seat at one of the wonderfully mismatched tables, which blended bistro chairs and tables with some more functional items and a couple of rather grand throne-like seats.

Croque monsieur

Croque monsieur

The soup arrived promptly and looked rather bonnie. It packed wonderfully herby flavour from fresh rosemary and had a very well-judged texture. It got a firm thumbs up.

The croque monsieur was equally accomplished. The bechamel had lovely notes nutmeg giving the otherwise simple cheese and ham toastie real panache. It was really enjoyable.

I rounded things out with good espresso, which drew to a conclusion a lovely lunchtime interlude.

So overall, I was entirely pleased with my visit to Le Bistrot. Catch it over the last few days of the Festival, then try to twist a few arms to get it to open more regularly throughout the year.

4 stars 2

Written by BKR