Croydon may not have the best of reputations and trying to convincing someone to head deep down south for a meal may see you carted off to the house of crazy. However, it will be ‘them’ who are crazy, for it appears that South Croydon is slowly turning into a serious culinary hotspot. Just ask chef-extraordinaire Malcolm John, who already owns two restaurants in the area. Having already been mightily impressed by his easy going Fish & Grill restaurant concept, we found lightening can strike twice as we fell in love with the culinary brilliance and charm of Le Cassoulet.
The interior of the restaurant enjoys a modern French atmosphere, with deep reds and rich creams of the banquettes and velvet covered chairs being reminiscent of traditional Parisian Brasseries, whilst the floral wallpaper adds an elegant touch. Smart as the restaurant is, Le Cassoulet also maintains are warm and relaxed atmosphere.
As its name suggests, Le Cassoulet is inspired by back-to-basics principals of rustic and home style cooking from the South-West region of France, with the menu changing regularly to reflect seasonal ingredients. Delicious starters include Spiced quail, shallot purée, savoy cabbage & pickled blueberries; Smoked haddock tortellini, leek etuvée & crisp Alsace bacon; and for those after a classic French experience, Burgundy snail, ham hock & mushroom pie. Main dishes include beautifully cooked Supreme of hake wrapped in pancetta with glazed onions, chorizo & triple cooked chips; and as you’d expect, a classic Cassoulet that is as good as you’ll find this side of Toulouse, with succulent pieces of duck and sausage melting away with each bite. If that wasn’t enough, desserts leave us speechless. Venezuela chocolate fondant is quite frankly the best I have had, featuring a super-thin cake filled with the richest, gooiest and creamiest chocolate centre imaginable. Conversely, the Raspberry soufflé is feather-light, yet well balanced with fresh berry flavour. Costing £30 for three courses, value for this standard of dining is quite frankly ridiculously good.
With the fastidious attention to detail at Le Cassoulet, the dining experience goes beyond outstanding cooking; little things make the difference, like fresh warm bread accompanied by a choice of salted or addictive anchovy butter; and the quality wine selection that includes a number natural wines. The enthusiastic team are also confident and accomplished at providing wine matching recommendations for the dishes. A local restaurant this may be, but the supreme skill in the kitchen, great wine and smart venue would see it excel amongst the best that central London has to offer.
Cuisine type: Rustic French
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £30/head for three courses
18 Selsdon Road
Surrey, CR2 6PA
Tel: 020 8633 1818