London restaurants (6) an amazing dinner at Brat with a Loire focus

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London restaurants (6) an amazing dinner at Brat with a Loire focus

Had a brilliant dinner at Brat last night. It was my first time, and it was one of the meals of the year.

Our theme was Loire, and we brought our own wine (corkage £20 a bottle, which is very reasonable) as well as ordering one from the list. I spent quite a while with their wine list, and it’s one of the very best in London, full of interesting things. If I were to put together a wine list, it would look very much like this (I wasn’t terribly surprised when I found out that the list had been developed by Noble Rot).

The wood-panelled dining room is classy and a little understated. It feels very comfortable. It feels simple, in the best possible way.

Brat’s theme is a Basque one, and the menu is, again, simple and beautiful at the same time. We ate well and ordered a variety of dishes to match with our eclectic selection of Loire gems (we’d done no coordinating).

The highlight was undoubtedly the turbot, the dish that Brat has become famous for. It’s grilled whole, and at £85 it’s not cheap, but it fed four comfortably. Part of the fun is foraging through the skeleton to mine beautiful morsels of tender white flesh.

We also did the beef rib. 1.9 kg of tender fatty goodness – again, not cheap (£95), but enough for four and a treat. A statement dish. We needed this for our three reds.

Other highlights: oysters roasted with seaweed; the famous chopped egg salad and bottarga; grilled bread with girolles and truffles; grilled bread with anchovies; and blood sausage and borlotti beans.

Everything was pretty much perfect.

The wines

Claude Courtois Les Cailloux du Paradis Racines Blanc NV (2015) Vin de France
A blend of Romorantin, Sauvignon, Menu Pineau and Chardonnay. Natural. Fresh and quite tight and mineral with lovely precision to the citrus flavours. Linear with lovely acid line. 91/100

Clos de la Coulée De Serrant 2009 Savennières Coulée De Serrant, Loire, France
15.5% alcohol. This was slightly high toned on the nose with a bit of ethyl acetate, then notes of honey and spice and baked apple. Herbs and spice on the palate with nice weight and some lovely spiciness. Such a distinctive wine. 93/100

Le Clos de la Meslerie Vouvray 2009 Loire, France
A cracking Vouvray from Peter Hahn. Honey and nutty with pear, citrus fruit and some apple. Honeyed and spicy with some sweetness, a bit of tropical character and good balance. 93/100

Clos Rougeard Saumur Champigny ‘Les Poyeaux’ Loire, France
Complex, spicy and meaty with some savoury spicy notes. Concentrated and chalky, a bit gravelly, some smoky notes and a really lovely texture. Expressive and perfumed with pepper, herbs and lovely fruit. Drinking perfectly now. 95/100

Domaine Guion Bourgeuil Cuvée Prestige 2017 Loire, France
Organic. Really floral black cherry and blackcurrant fruit with good density and a gravelly, chalky edge. This is juicy and expressive and pretty serious. Essence of Loire Cabernet Franc. 94/100

Thierry Germain Domaine des Roches Neuves Saumur Champigny ‘Les Mémoires’ 2014 Loire, France
Brooding blackcurrant and blackberry fruit nose. Taut, fresh and quite primary with linear black fruits. Savoury, taut and dense. 94/100

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