Since coming back from a year in Paris, I couldn’t help going into brasseries here in London and thinking that something was missing. Until I had dinner at Brasserie Chavot for the first time, I didn’t know what it was exactly. In a very short amount of time, a few French-inspired, semi-formal restaurants opened up, but none of them had an atmosphere and a menu comparable to their French equivalents.
The heart and soul behind Brasserie Chavot, in Conduit Street, Mayfair is Michelin–star decorated chef Eric Chavot. His reputation precedes him; before launching his own restaurant he worked at The Capital in Knightsbridge, where his French cuisine-inspired menu earned him two Michelin stars – and according to many, was worth the third one as well. He also worked at a special pop-up restaurant in Selfridges and at the Weston Estate in Florida. In 2013, he opened the brasserie attached to the Westbury Hotel and named it after himself.
The venue is not exactly casual but approachably elegant. Decorated in an Art Nouveau style, the room has a mosaic-tiled floor, high ceilings and plenty of mirrors on the walls. According to some, the décor is less glitzy than Balthazar or Brasserie Zedel’s ones, but personally, I think that it is a better example of old–school glamour – the only thing I’d probably change are the chandeliers. Thanks to the fact that the tables are far apart enough to guarantee a certain privacy, it’s an ideal place for a date, a gathering with friends or a business meal.
Décor aside, what makes the place an absolute hit is the food. The menu combines tradition and creativity; everything from the crunchy, greaseless deep fried soft-shell crab to the delicious sea bream and the poussin grille’ – young chicken for the English-speaking population – is exceptionally tasty and made with high-quality, fresh ingredients. Without a doubt, my absolute favourite is the baba au rhum with crème Chantilly, worth a visit alone. The food not only tastes good but is also elegantly served, using wood boards, cute pots and pages of French newspapers. The wine list includes a reasonably wide selection of wines, not only French but also a few international varieties.
The service is very attentive and considering that you are in Mayfair, the prices are reasonable. So if you are up for a special-occasion dinner or just feel like treating yourself with excellent food and good wine in a charming venue, you should definitely pay a visit to Brasserie Chavot. And maybe you will finally find a corner of France in London, like I did.