SVT and I used to be part of a kind of informal dinner club with a couple of school friends. When we realised she was moving to London, it made us sad – but also excited about the possibility of reuniting dinner club in London! DS and I were so excited to be able to dine with SVT at Bandol, conveniently located our hood in Chelsea – and all of us give it a solid double thumbs up.
DS and SVT started our meal with a couple of drinks: a classic Old Fashioned for DS and their special cocktail of the night for SVT, which, from memory, was almost like a spiced wine meets champagne situation. We were also given a little amuse bouche to nibble on – a crunchy piece of bread topped with caramelised onions and an olive.
The menu is designed to share, although we ended up only sharing the entrees and getting our own mains and dessert (call us greedy, whatever). We got the Burrata DOP with heirloom tomato salad (£12) because loving burrata is something we can all agree on. After realising that we hadn’t had many vegetables during our travels in Germany we also went with the Marinated Courgette Salad with aged feta crumble, mint and lemon vinaigrette (£6.50) which was absolutely excellent. I didn’t except it to come in ‘noodle’ form but that made it fun and easy to eat.
Another hallmark of our Sydney dinner club is that we always seemed to get steak tartare. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten steak tartare without SVT…hmm something to ponder there. The Steak Tartare, Endive Salad, Toasted Olive Bread (£13.50) was served on a flat, rimless board which made it rather difficult to actually mix together without it spilling over everywhere. Would suggest they change that presentation! Three pieces of bread also seemed a bit skimpy… Super tasty otherwise though, and the red paste you can see up the top left of the board added a nice chilli kick for those who were keen.
DS’ main definitely won the presentation award – the Crab Linguine with roasted tomatoes and chilli (£18) was literally served in the crab shell! I’ve seen that done with crab soup or the famous blue swimmer crab at Saint Peter in Sydney but not so much with pasta. The portion size was also very generous, so DS was an all round happy diner.
I had the Roasted Seabass with scampi and smoked tomatoes (£19) which was a bit disappointing. I had forgotten that seabass can be a tough fish, and when it said ‘scampi’ on the menu I had assumed I would receive more than two tiny scampis on top of my small fillet of fish. No matter, it was still not bad.
SVT got the Whole Roasted Poussin, Autumn Truffles, Kale, Potatoes (£22) which I guess is just a fancy French way of saying small chicken. This was really the perfect, hearty, wintry meal – would recommend. We also got the Tarragon buttered baby vegetables (£4), again, in an effort to eat somewhat healthily on our travels.
Dessert time! How exciting. Of course, DS had the Lavender Créme Brûlée (£7) – it’s one of his favourite desserts, the other one being his mum’s Creme Caramel. No disappointments there, would order again. SVT had another classic French dessert but with a bit of a twist Lemon & Thyme Mille-Feuille (£8). This trend of adding herbs to desserts doesn’t always work, but it did this time. Would also order again.
Some of you may know that I, mainly for health reasons, did the I Quit Sugar programme last year. I am back eating sugar, but still try not to go overboard with it. That means that I often opt for the cheese menu instead of the dessert menu these days (oh and it’s also a bit cheaper than dessert, sometimes)! Unfortunately they had run out of a couple of the cheeses I wanted, so I ended up with the St Maure soft goat cheese (£3.50) from Touraine, France. It was a small piece, but just right to end the meal with some crispy flatbread.
All of us agreed that Bandol was a great restaurant and we would go again. It’s not that expensive (e.g. the desserts were around AU$12) and we also loved the variety and tastiness of the food. Would definitely recommend if you’re in London and around the Chelsea area!
6 Hollywood Road