You want to get the LFLD team salivating? Give us good quality ingredients well cooked. As we may have mentioned once or twice before, you don’t need bells, whistles and Smarties on the top if you start with good quality ingredients. Since visiting Aubaine, we discover we’re in good company. They’re following Escoffier’s philosophy of ‘Faites simples!’, which, basically is a quicker, classier way of what we stand for: start with the good stuff and don’t b*gger about with it too much. As you might imagine then, we enjoyed our recent dinner at Aubaine as, we suspect, anyone would.
As the name / influence suggests, Aubaine has a French bias and feel. The rooms – at both the Brompton Road and Heddon Street locations – are light, airy and feel like you’re dining in a charming country hotel somewhere outside of Marseilles. Well, a hotel with a very good bakery attached. One of the restaurant’s USPs is the on-site bakery, particularly evident in SW3 where you have to walk through the bakery shop to get to the dining room. This results in mouth-watering aromas, excellent breads, artery-hardening (but we all have to go sometime, right?) pastries and the best burger bun in London.
In view of that latter statement we did at least start light, with an excellent salad of prawns and grapefruit – meaty, zesty, sharp, fresh – and a tian de ratatouille that proved that whole Escoffier thing: it is truly amazing what a well sourced courgette can generate.
And then came the fun stuff. A chicken supreme that belied the retro nature of its name to deliver dense flavours and immense satisfaction and, of course, that burger. If ever a dish declared a restaurant’s philosophy, this is it. That perfect bun – light yet crusty, absorbent yet firm – was the ideal ‘carrying system’ for the fun stuff within. And we’re talking FUN. Tartar sauce, sun dried tomatoes, red onions, Swiss cheese and the crispest of lettuce provided a neat, twist on the classic trappings. As for the burger… it’s not a burger, it’s slices of rare filet steak. A simple, sideways step that takes what could be a naff bit of crowd pleasing and turns it into something simply glorious.
Dessert – a delicious creation of pistachio and raspberry – finished the meal, and us, off in fine style. Aubaine deserves a spot in anyone’s address book.
Cuisine type – French
Dinner for 2 (ex. drinks) – £60
Wine – £4.50
4 Heddon Street
London W1B 4BS
Tel: 020 7440 2510.
260-262 Brompton Road
London SW3 2AS
Tel: 020 7052 0100