Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Racine, South Kensington

I had booked Racine two weeks early, as I knew my mother would be staying and would enjoy the food (from what I had read anyway - I hadn't actually been before).

There were meant to be three of us dining but at the last minute there were only two.  When the restaurant called to confirm the reservation the day before, I had just heard that we would be dining as a pair and the person calling was fine with that, and very friendly.  On the evening in question, a Wednesday night, we found ourselves in the area, and ready to eat, a good forty five minutes before we expected and so we went in to see if we could eat earlier.  There were two other tables taken at 6.45pm - a largeish group and a couple who obviously there a lot.  The waiting staff were delighted for us to eat earlier and the whisked us to our table, which was against the banquette.

The restaurant itself is very authentically French and classic.  The heavy purple curtain surrounding the door keeps the bustle of Brompton Road firmly outside and the cool calm atmosphere inside.  That is not to say it's stuffy, though, it's really not.  The staff are perfect - friendly, professional and discreet.  We ordered a glass of white wine each and tap water whilst perusing the menu.  The water came in glasses, which were refilled throughout the meal, without request.

We were early enough for the set menu - which you can order from before 7pm, a bonus of arriving early!  To begin, we both chose goat's cheese, which came with French toast and garlic.  It was a beautifully simple dish, very tasty and just enough.  There was a lamb dish as a main option which we both wanted but unfortunately it was the last portion.  My mum was not disappointed, however, with her beef onglet - tender and cooked perfectly rare.  My lamb, too was medium as requested and full of flavour.  Served with a selection of vegetables and new potatoes we had a really lovely meal and, at £17 for two courses or £19 for three, it was excellent value.

We were both too full for puddings and noone pushed us to have one, or more wine, although we were offered.  The service was truly exemplary - unintrusive yet attentive.

The only downside was the missing third diner, who I missed very much.

Two courses and a glass of wine: £25 per head

Value: 8/10

Service: 9/10

Atmosphere: 7/10

Food: 7/10

SCORE: 31/40

Racine, 239 Brompton Road, London, SW3 2EP.  Tel: 020 75844477.

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