Review – Côte
Côte Restaurant and Brasserie stands tall and grey at the bottom of Church Street, in prime location for the Dome, the Theatre Royal, the Corn Exchange and as a lunch or dinner venue, especially handy after a hard days shopping in the North Laine. Greeted by an attentive and smiling waitress, we were given the option of where we would like to be seated – a nice touch. We sat on a more secluded table for two next to the bar and our menus were presented, along with two complementary Kir Royales. An excellent start to the meal.
The menu at Côte is vast with a strong French bistro/brasserie theme running throughout with appetisers, starters, light mains, fish, poulty and meat dishes all on offer. Tempted by the Calamari, which we all know is a huge personal favourite of time, I decided to be more extravagant and treat myself to the daily special Grilled Lobster with Mayonnaise Vert – Charbroiled half lobster with herb and garlic mayo, watercress and lemon (£10.95) to start and predictably went for the 10oz Ribeye Steak – from 30 day aged Hereford cattle and served chargrilled with frites (£14.95), plus peppercorn sauce for an additional £1.95 as my main course.
Finishing off our order with a bottle of Château Du Poyet 2011, Muscadet (£16.95) we sipped our Kir Royales and accustomed to the warm, relaxing atmosphere Côte presents.
What can I say? The lobster was superb. Cooked amazingly well, so tender and fresh yet fleshy with a brilliant slightly chargrilled flavour. The accompaniment of the mayonnaise vert was a nice twist rather than serving regular mayonnaise. With the watercress adding a slight crunch, the dish was an absolute dream. I’d really love to see this make the main menu, but can understand why it’s only served as a special!
With our chilled, melon noted wine flowing, we were both eager for our main courses to arrive and we weren’t disappointed.
You know when people ask you ‘what would be your final meal on Death Row?’ – steak would always be my answer. I absolutely adore it, especially the fatty-ness of ribeye and if I could have steak cooked by any restaurant I’ve been to so far, it would be Côte. The dish was again, fantastic. I like my steak rare and bloody, which is exactly how it was cooked.
Dousing the steak in my creamy peppercorn sauce and cutting into the flesh, red juices oozed out to be mopped up by the crunchy, salted classic French frites – absolute heaven. The meat was so succulent and melt in the mouth, I’m salivating as I type. With the smokey aroma of the chargrill adding loads of flavour, it was a meat lovers dream to be eating a steak cooked so well. Faultless.
Finishing off our wine, I couldn’t help but squeeze in a Côte favourite – the Creme Brûlée. Upon ordering my Mum exclaimed ‘but you don’t like cold custard!’ Mother, this creme brûlée isn’t just cold custard, it’s a concoction of smooth, velvety, creamy vanilla custard with a crispy burnt sugar topping that is so subliminally scrummy, I would walk back to Côte for another helping.
Côte is a fast expanding restaurant brand and I really, really hope they don’t let their high standards slip with rapid expansion as we’ve seen with so many chain restaurants. Dining at Côte is still an intimate, worth while experience with mouth wateringly, amazing food served for a reasonable price.
Côte also do a ‘pre-theatre’ set menu if you’re cutting back this New Year, offering two courses for £9.95 or three for £11.90, served Monday to Friday 12-7pm.
Words by Claire Beveridge