Bermondsey. 5 Minutes from The Shard. And a million miles away.
Casse-Croute (well worth a click on their site) translates as ‘snack’ on this search engine. Well, it is only snacky through the number of covers – about 24. The food is far more restaurant like, as long as you like well thought out plates that feel like you are in France (OK – not extreme – they serve a veg or two with the meat or fish!). It maybe a little more earthy and real than portentous and posh (Think Maman, not Raymond Blanc), but that is not to diminish the quality of both the food and the ambience.
We were 6. And partner of our mates daughter is both French and a Sommelier…so we felt in good hands.
We even had proper engaged but slightly surly waiters. You know the sort “Can I have potatoes with that?” “Non.” How we laughed. “Chef designs it to be complete. Why do you English interfere?” An explanation is not always forthcoming – but it helped…
There are three of each course. So I will drag you through them. Good having 6 – we covered it all.
The Fish Soup: (yes – just ‘Soupe’ on the bill. Concentrated, velvety, stunningly bisque (probably shells of Lobster boiled for days then reduced 400 fold?). Not cloying, not overfilling like some English menus…
Herrings (Herengs Marines) – Marinaded in sweet white wine – and honey – so not like the vinegar roll mops of scandi fame…unctuous, – and with about 19 other salady bits…(I had this – it was just mind stunningly strong in many flavours).
Then sausage in a brioche. OK – this sounds like a french attempt at Sausage Roll. Gingsters, it was not! The sausage was hugely strong and garlic driven. It was strongly peppered – white? – and then didn’t fight with the brioche – which was less sweet than we are used to with shop bought.
Mains? Not really French, as the plates had veggies with them! But all robust and feeling like something out of French Country Cooking – like Maman made, again…
Here’s the mains: Confit of duck – calmly juicy still, and strong. Lamb – almost pulsing in it’s pinkness, and reduced those diners to silence. Sole? More risotto like – very creamy and almost impossible to finish. Luckily, everyone joined in with bread!
Puds (you just have to…) Tarte of the day was very seasonal plums, creme anglaise and puffy-ish pastry (no soggy bottoms…) Figs poached in wine – even more concentrated in flavour than pears done similarly. And the piece of resistance? Chou Chou. Two balls of choux pastry. The inner one filled with dark chocolate. The outer bombe filled with white chocolate. Fiddly, fun, and a bit of a show stopper!
We waddled off, to a pub, like you do…quite at peace with the world. It’s not a bad old life….