Test Driving Soutine - Corbin and King's grand cafe in St John's Wood

pateChicken liver parfait with sauternes jelly (£10.50) - pretty perfect parfait - but look at the amazing jelly. 

What can you tell us about Soutine?

Soutine is the latest restaurant from Corbin and King. They're probably best known for The Wolseley but are also behind the massive Brasserie Zedel, The Delaunay, Colbert and more. This time they've taken up a spot in St John's Wood and turned it into their take on a grand Parisian cafe - with a few influences from the area added in for good measure (take a look at the newly-commissioned frescoes in the hallway which depict the area nearby).  

Where is it? 

If you remember where the St John's Wood Carluccio's was - this is what's taken over. It's on the bottom end of St John's High Street and looks out onto St John's Wood Church Gardens. It's also just a few minutes walk from the top of Regent's Park if you fancy a nice stroll after lunch here. Nearest tube is St John's Wood - about a five-minute walk away. 

Where should we go for a drink nearby?

There are a few stools at the end of the main bar at Soutine (the rest is for dining), and there's even an Ivy Cafe up the road which can occasionally be a good place to grab a wine. Ourselves, we popped into nearby pub The Duke of York, which also seems like a good bet.

soutine frontroomThe front room at Soutine (we were actually in that small booth at the front, which faces the front window). 

And where should we sit?

The seating arrangements in Corbin and King restaurants often come in for some scrutiny - mainly because of the notoriety of the Wolseley's seating arrangement where it's all about being in the inner horseshoe space. At Soutine - it's a restaurant of two halves. At the front, there's more of a cafe approach - you can see that in the picture above. By the window here is really the place to be.

In the back, there's a larger room which starts with booth seating and then opens up into a larger area at the back. This is a much better bet for larger groups. 

So - what's on the menu?

It's an all-day affair - so there is a specific breakfast menu to start things off ("The English", omelettes, bacon rolls and more) and after that, it shifts into an all-day menu. On that, expect a small selection of seafood (oysters, prawn cocktail, scallops, snails), starters, croques and sandwiches, salads and mains. If you haven't quite had your egg fix for the day, you can even order eggs benedict/florentine or royale for dinner. Which is tempting. 

Already an Instagram hit from the restaurant is their whole globe artichoke. But as we're not massive artichoke fans here's what we had on the night:

oysterPrestige de Claire oyster with shallot vinegar (£2.50 each)

mushroomsWild mushrooms on toasted brioche (£9.25) plus extra funghi in the form of mushroom pate spread on the brioche.

radishesRadis au buerre (£3.75) - these are served with butter and celery salt. We think the butter needed to be a little more soft for dipping, but it's a generous portion (and the celery salt works well). 

fishGoujons of haddock with tartare sauce (£15.75 - and there's a small version for £8.50). A more refined version of fish and chips

steakSteak frites au salade with bearnaise (£18.50) - beautifully cooked, this hit the mark perfectly. 

bananaBanana Split - caramelised banana, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream (£6.95) - so old school that we had to have it. 

eclairSalted caramel eclair (£3.50) - hard to resist and we really, really wanted to pair this with the salted caramel florentines (£1.95) but they'd run out. Oh well, next time. But we did like the choice of smaller pastries and sweets to round things off. 

How about vegetarians?

While there are vegetarian options on the main menu, there is actually an entirely separate vegetarian menu too. That include dishes like a spiced vegetable hache or Spinach Pierogies with peas broad beans and asparagus as well as all the vegetarian dishes from the main menu. So there's a fair bit to choose from. 

What about drink?

There's a short cocktail list with champagne cocktails (£9.50), House Cocktails (including a French Negroni - £10.25) and classics too as well as five alcohol-free cocktails (£6 each). Wine starts at a good-value £19.95, with a good selection under £30 - while heading into the £100s if you're splashing out. There's plenty by the 175ml glass too and also a featured region on the menu - Chablis when we visited. 

Overall thoughts...

We think Soutine will find the locals greeting it with open arms. The classic French menu is done well and priced well, and the room and service are recognisably Corbin and King. It's the sort of place you can see yourself coming back to again and again - so once again they've got a total winner here. 

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Soutine. Prices are correct at the time of writing.  


More about Soutine

Where is it? 60 St Johns Wood High Street, London NW8 7SH

When does it open? 29 April 2019

How to book: Call 020 3926 8448 or via their website.

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @soutinestjohn.


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