The credit crunch was meant to spell doom and annihilation for our restaurants; people would no longer have any money to dine out and we would apparently be resigned to a life of hunting deals in the value isle of Netto. Fortunately for restaurants and the public alike, it hasn’t quite worked out like that. Restaurants have realised the heady days of free-spending are over and have revised their offerings to provide more value and accessibility. Perhaps the biggest sign of this evolution in the dining scene is the increasing number of easy going French bistro concepts opening.
Chief amongst the purveyors of this concept is Bistro du Vin, who has just opened two restaurants in quick succession in Clerkenwell and Soho. Our visit to the latter showed exactly why this style of restaurant has become so popular. The bright and airy restaurant provides a variety of seating options, from informal stools at the bar to intimate booths and traditional large oak dining tables. A warm colour palette and eye-catching classical artwork serve to keep things interesting and inviting.
The menu takes a similar approach, providing a range of dishes based on local produce for every mood and occasion. Want to pop in for a glass of wine from the extensive and well-priced wine list whilst nibbling on a few plates from the ‘Raw & Cured Section’ (including Steak tartare and Forman’s cured smoked salmon)? No problem.
Alternatively, Bistro du Vin is just as comfortable providing the scene for a proper evening out, including a discerning spirits selection and a solid cocktail list. Starters include Lobster bisque and a light and flavoursome Dressed Cornish crab with toasted sourdough. The eclectic main options range from Moules Frites and Veal Parmigana to a Roasted shellfish platter and a host of steaks from the Josper Grill. The Belted Galloway Ribeye I tried was bursting with flavour and beautifully cooked, although the tough meat suggested a little more ageing was required. A meal is likely to be finished on a high note, with some delicious desserts a great selection of cheese from La Cave a Fromage.
With so many options, the cost of a meal can vary wildly. Considering the generous portions, prices are reasonable, with starters for around £7, mains around £15 (or starting at £26 for a quality cut of steak) and there are always interesting daily specials for around £13. .
Cuisine type: English/European/Steaks
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £58
Bistro du Vin
36 Dean Street,
London W1D 4PS
020 7432 4800
40 St John Street,
London EC1M 4DL
020 7490 9230