|Le menu du jour|
Pretty much all of the good restaurants in my new quartier are on Bermondsey Street and I've been eyeing the newest opening, Casse-Croûte (which means "snack"), with interest. Sitting at one of the tables on the pavement or on the red-checkered-tablecloth-clad tables inside, you could almost be at a bistro in a small French town, rather than a five-minute stroll from the mess of London Bridge station.
There are two sittings, at 6 pm and 8 pm, but when we arrived, soon after 6, the tiny restaurant was already bustling.
|Le bar. Plus token Michelin Man.|
We ordered a carafe of red and some tap water (carafe d'eau) and perused the menu, which offered three choices for each course. I don't like squid, and after establishing that the tête de veau wasn't exactly my kind of beef, my starter was, by default, the œuf à la coque. This was a boiled egg (singular) with a few very elegant but sparse soldiers, garnished with a thin slice of cheese and a wafer of ham. It was nice, but at £6, quite an expensive egg. My friend's squid, tomato and bacon seemed a little better value for money.
|Egg and soldiers, à la française|
I might have been persuaded to eat pigeon, had it not come garnished with mushrooms. Instead, I ordered the truffade as my main course, which is a sort of delicious, cheesy potato pancake. It came garnished with salad and some cured ham. Probably a good thing I'm not still a vegetarian! Again it was nice, but a slightly strange main course — my friend's pigeon was a little light on the carbs so we mixed and matched.
|The truffade (and the pigeon in the background).|
The puddings were a little easier. I went for the chocolat liégeois: chocolate and vanilla ice creams with hot chocolate sauce and lots of cream. It was really good, although I was slightly sad that the almond macaroon I saw on the menu earlier in the week didn't show up.
Overall, we had a lovely evening. Casse-Croûte is a cosy, friendly place with great atmosphere and good food that is certainly way off the well-trodden, French culinary track. The prices were a little on the high side (particularly the egg), but not compared to other restaurants on Bermondsey Street or, say, France. If you're looking for a very authentic French restau in SE1 with good cooking and an interesting menu, you should give Casse-Croûte a try. There is no online booking, so give them a call on 020 7407 2140 — and the 8 pm sitting fills up pretty quickly, so don't leave it too late to book.
Casse-Croûte. 109 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XB (Tube: London Bridge). Website. Twitter.