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Bistrot Bruno Loubet

St John’s Square, 86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RJ
Latest critic review: June 16, 2010
Critics' score: 8 out of 10 Users' score: 5.5 out of 10

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Bruno first made a name for himself as Head Chef at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons and then at the Four Seasons on Park Lane where he won a Michelin star. From there he opened two restaurants in Soho before his grand nineties venture L'Odeon on Regent Street. This venture at Clerkenwell's Zetter Hotel is an 85-seater focusing on Loubet's take on bistro food and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a small bar.

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Chris Pople Cheese & Biscuits
Reviewed on June 16, 2010
"It's solely as a testament to Bruno Loubet's talents in the kitchen that we left his eponymous Bistrot very happy, but I couldn't help thinking that if the staff managed to turn the mateyness and quirkiness down a few notches we would have enjoyed ourselves far more." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 7
Jasper Gerard Telegraph
Reviewed on June 05, 2010
"Even apparently straightforward dishes such as pan-fried pollock have been lifted. The addition of squid ink adds saltiness and celeriac purée bitterness." READ REVIEW

AA Gill Sunday Times
Reviewed on April 25, 2010
"Bruno manages, in all their hearty meatiness, to make his dishes taste as if they were prepared in a brothel full of expressionists and consumptive romantics" READ REVIEW

Jay Rayner Observer
Reviewed on April 18, 2010
"He cooks like a man determined to make you remember: not just his particular dishes, but what ingredients can taste like, why everybody has spent so bloody long sucking up to French chefs, why we bother going out to restaurants at all." READ REVIEW
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Zoe Williams Telegraph
Reviewed on April 16, 2010
"The pigeon was a revelation, so deeply pink on the inside it was practically raw, and yet with a beautiful, velvety tenderness that you’d think could only be achieved with a cooking time of six days." READ REVIEW

Marina O'Loughlin Metro
Reviewed on April 07, 2010
"This is a welcome addition to London’s restaurant scene, up there with Arbutus (ironically) for serving massive, un-poncey flavours wrung from the odd unlikely ingredient." READ REVIEW

Matthew Norman Guardian
Reviewed on April 03, 2010
"The clearest of winners was a "revised" Lyonnaise salad, the revision being the addition to the bacon, egg and delicately dressed salad leaves of deep-fried pig's trotter as creamily unctuous and gooily gratifying as that porcine extremity should be. A total classic." READ REVIEW
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Critic's score: 7
Kang Leung London eater
Reviewed on March 22, 2010
"I was less impressed with the cooking, and I think the restaurant is a victim of the hype that has built up around it." READ REVIEW
Estimated score
Critic's score: 6
Lisa Markwell Independent
Reviewed on March 21, 2010
"...with Valrhona chocolate tartlet, caramel and salted butter ice-cream on offer, I’m afraid greed gets the better of me. It is, quite simply, the best desert I’ve eaten in recent memory. " READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 8.5
Tracey MacLeod Independent
Reviewed on March 20, 2010
"In keeping with the Clerkenwell location, there's something of the artisan about Loubet's food, which favours personality over prettiness." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 7.5
Zoe Strimpel City AM
Reviewed on March 16, 2010
"The menu is a combination of the unusual and sometimes challenging, and the clearly delicious." READ REVIEW
Estimated score
Critic's score: 9
Giles Coren Times
Reviewed on March 13, 2010
"This, I immediately decided, is what a bistro is supposed to be. This is what happens when a major, major chef decides to do bacon and eggs, to roll up his sleeves and get his boots dirty." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 8
Fay Maschler Evening Standard
Reviewed on March 13, 2010
"Bruno’s fondness for North African flavours is evident in confit of lamb shoulder with white beans, preserved lemon and green harissa." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 8
Michelle Court View London
Reviewed by March 10, 2010
"...offers friendly service, warm decor and an interesting menu that’s, for the most part, pretty faultless." READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 8
Anon Time Out
Reviewed on March 08, 2010
"The Zetter's Italian restaurant previously on the site was always an underachiever, so luring Loubet to buck the place up was a stroke of brilliance. " READ REVIEW
Critic's score: 10
Richard & Peter Harden's
Reviewed on February 24, 2010
"It’s the food, though – with its combination of traditional technique and innovation – which is what really makes the place worth seeking out." READ REVIEW
Estimated score
Critic's score: 8
Hermano Primero Dos Hermanos
Reviewed on February 23, 2010
"Our first tastes of our starters reminded us why we had always been such big fans." READ REVIEW
Estimated score
Critic's score: 9

User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
5.5  (2)
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Overall rating
(Updated: April 30, 2012)
Overall rating 

Exceptional food & service

Enjoyed a superb meal at Bistrot Bruno Loubet last week. I am glad I only read the HD review and not the only other user review here or I might have given it a miss. That would have been a tragedy as it was one of the best meals I have had in years!

The room was busy and buzzing when we arrived and the lively atmosphere really boosted our sense of anticipation. With a table of four we were able to order a variety of dishes which was a relief as we were all struggling to choose. Our waiter was charming and friendly and helped us out with some personal recommendations, all of which completely hit the mark. All of the dishes were excellent but the Guinea fowl boudin blanc and the snails and meatballs were outstanding. For mains the boned and rolled rabbit was rich and delicious while the grilled, marinated quail was full of flavour but a little lighter. The grand finale came for the two of us that could squeeze in dessert (the portions are generous - be warned) as the thin apple tart was pudding heaven and my friend was equally blown away by the rhubarb mille-feuille.

I really cannot wait to go back to Bistrot Bruno Loubet - the food is superb , the portions are generous, the service is friendly and knowledgable and it is also really great value (esp the wine!). I real find.

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Overall rating 

What a crashing disappointment

An acceptably average evening was rendered almost unbearable by some of the worst service I’ve ever had the misfortune to be at the receiving of. The food was okay but did not marry up to the reviews that I had previously read which was disappointing as I had been very much looking forward to this experience. What a surprise I was in for. The snails and meatballs were too oily, however the hare was delicious. It’s a sorry state of affairs that the highlight of the meal was the dressing on the side salad. It’s the best I’ve had anywhere so well done for that. But back to the diabolical service. On food alone I would have rated this experience a 6.5 but being treated like an irritating small child, getting sneered at one minute and then ignored for an extended period of time the next my rating has plummeted to a measly 1. My friend arrived early and sat at the bar while she waited for me. Upon being sat down she was promptly forgotten for ten minutes when finally her arms waiving wildly in the air reminded the bar tender someone sitting at the bar normally wants to be served a drink. While the waiter showed us to our table he answered his mobile phone and then proceeded to gesticulate in general the direction of where we should sit. We got the gist of where we should go. Once seated I had the audacity to ask some questions about the menu; who would normally dare reveal such ignorance?! My questions were answered with an exasperated sigh, a roll of the eyeballs and my favourite response of all “well it says on there doesn’t it!” spoken whilst ripping the menu from my hands and waiving it away. The detail I wanted was in fact not supplied on the menu. When it came to pay the bill we may as well have been dead to him as our waiter proceeded to disappear to the far end of the restaurant again only to return to stop us from again having to waive our hands wildly in the air. This is something I would normally never do however given that every other wait staff also ignored us we were left with little choice, the only other option being to get up and leave without paying which I almost wish I had done.

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More information

AddressSt John’s Square, 86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RJ
Telephone number +44 (0)20 7324 4455
Telephone numberAverage price: Expensive
Opening timesMonday to Friday 07.00 am – 10.30 pm; Saturday & Sunday 07.30 am – 11.30 pm
  • Bar area
  • Outside seating (weather permitting)

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