I wasn’t planning on doing a review on Bronte. I mean, I’ve been there a few times before and loved the food so was planning on doing it at some point, but this particular night wasn’t the night. Anyway, I headed over with my parents for a bite to eat since none of us could be arsed to cook, and upon instantly realising before we even sat down at the table that our waiter was going to be one of those guys whose mission it is to make sure you have the best meal possible, I was like right… Tonight’s gotta be the night to review. Why did I realise how good he was going to be before we even sat down at the table? Because as is standard, as soon as we got to the restaurant, my parents were driving me up the wall with my dad singing his head off in the midst of some bemused diners and my mum wanted to have some half hour chat with the waiter about every single wine on the menu and where she’s visited on her ventures of the vino. Get ready to meet my weird yet wonderful parents.
So, back to the beginning. We got to Bronte and it was really noisy in the bar area which kind of put me off since both my dad and I have partial hearing impairments. Personally, I tend to get away with it since I just focus a bit more on what people are saying, whereas my dad ventures off to Planet Pete, singing away not giving a monkeys who’s watching (usually half the restaurant). Thank sweet baby Jesus that it was quieter at the back of the restaurant so that there was some hope of my dad indulging my incessant conversations about the food we were eating, although he was adamant we head to the bar before sitting down. I wasn’t best pleased about this since I wanted to get home and to bed relatively early since I needed to be up at 6am the next day, but before our bickering could escalate into anything noteworthy, the day was saved. Enter Joe. He could tell what was going on and brought the menus over to the bar so we could order our starters and have them being prepared whilst I was consuming my compulsory cocktail, my mum was yacking on to his patient ear about her knowledge of wine, and my dad was deciding to tell his all-time favourite inappropriate joke whilst the bartender was shaking up his cocktail: ‘As every schoolboy will tell you, it’s all in the wrist’. Cue awkward laugh from bartender who clearly just didn’t get it. Cue responsive laughter from dad who thought he did get it and that he was hilarious. Cue me wanting the floor to swallow me up.
We sat down at a lovely, spacious booth table and our starters arrived. My mum had wanted the superfood salad with halloumi that I had recommended to her, but for some reason wasn’t on the menu that evening. Joe said it was fine and that he could not only get the salad for us, but that he could also do a starter sized portion which I know from experience isn’t usually offered on the menu. Unsurprisingly, my mum adored this salad. She’s a pretty fussy vegetarian (if you’re into veggie stuff then go check out her Instagram at CherryPie_Chow) but I had no apprehension that she wouldn’t agree with me that it was the best superfood salad she can remember having eaten (I’ve had the same response from other friends I’ve taken who have also tried the chicken version). The crunchiness of the broccoli, lettuce, pomegranate, radish, spring onion and pumpkin & sesame seeds, paired with the carby satisfaction of the freekeh, the creamy freshness of the kalamansi yoghurt dressing and the succulent halloumi matched in such a harmonious manner both in texture and taste. I honestly can’t see myself getting bored of this dish anytime soon.
My tuna tartare was beautifully presented in a small dome shape and topped with a perfectly cooked, runny-yolked quail’s egg. The tuna had been hand-cut into the freshest tasting, generously sized chunks, topped with tobiko which added an interesting dimension to the texture of the dish, and was seasoned with a deliciously delicate amount of heat (despite the fact Joe came to the rescue yet again with some extra chillies to satisfy my inner fiery bitch).
My dad went for the squid, octopus and chorizo salad; a dish that also sounded right up my street, had I not gone for the tuna tartare. Whilst the chorizo was succulent and flavoursome, I felt that the squid could have been a bit more tender, although it still made for a pleasant starter.
Okay now I just want to bang on about my main course, since it was the most satisfying piece of meat I’ve had in my mouth for a while… (yup, still single over here). This fillet steak was cooked exactly how I like it; basically still mooing inside but warm… WARM! Why do so many restaurants not understand that this is not only a much more pleasant way to eat a rare steak, but in fact the correct way to cook it. It makes me sad that I never bother ordering steak cooked blue in England anymore after becoming so fed up with the amount of waiters who decide to inform me that ‘actually a steak cooked blue is always cold inside’. No it’s not. Go to France. Sort your shit out. Anyway, rant over, the steak here was on point and was graced by the presence of the artichoke purée and a jus that made for an explosion of happiness in my mouth. To be fair, a good piece of well-cooked fillet steak and any kind of artichoke is always going to be a winner for me; they’re two of my favourite foods alongside the glorious truffle and a pristine piece of pan-fried foie gras (last time I got those two served together with a piece of steak was at the 50th anniversary dinner for Le Gavroche, paired with a 1975 Bordeaux … An experience I won’t be forgetting any time soon and to be fair has set the bar about as high as is possible). Anyway, before I start writing a freaking ode to steak, truffles and foie gras let’s get to my mum’s main course.
Mama went for the edamame and kale pancake topped with smoked avocado ratatouille, sheep’s milk yoghurt and harissa. The well-sized pancake was light and fluffy yet still firm, the harissa avocado ratatouille was just a mouthful of magnificence, and the crunch of the pomegranate seeds made for yet another textural treat. Much to my relief, my fussy mother was impressed yet again and I could breathe a sigh of relief that pancake-gate wasn’t about to commence. She also ordered a side of skinny rosemary fries with sriracha aioli which unfortunately weren’t mind-blowing. We couldn’t taste the rosemary but Joe soon rocked up with some more to sprinkle on top, and the sriracha sauce was a great accompaniment for not only myself, but also my mother who is also a total spice fiend.
As for my dad’s main course, I’m sad to say that this was the let-down of the meal. He went for the pork chop which was a bit on the dry side for us. It was alright, I mean it just kind of tasted like your standard pork chop but it was nothing to write home about. Not much else to say about this dish to be honest, it didn’t incite any sort of excitement in me whatsoever.
No desserts for us since my parents are about as terrified of getting fat as the world was of Donald Trump winning presidency. Although, that happened and everyone’s still alive which just adds weight to my theory that dessert can’t be that bad of an idea. Makes sense to me anyway. I’ll be scoffing said dessert when I head back to Bronte because I’ll be going at least once more, maybe twice, probably thrice… Who am I kidding, it’s already become a firm favourite of mine. I’ve checked out the weekend brunch menu and I’ll report back once I’ve stuffed myself silly and probably swigged myself into a state since that sounds about standard for Fern at a weekend brunch. #Shameless.
P.s. Promise my flattery isn’t because I’m having a thing with Joe… He was honestly just a guy who was very good at his job and worth a mention!
The Grand Building
London, WC2N 5EJ
Mon – Fri: 7:30am – midnight
Sat: 9am – midnight
Sun: 9am – 7pm
Bank Holidays – call