Located in Tooting’s Broadway Market is Bordelaise, a French restaurant offering tapas style small plates. I was invited to review Bordelaise and to share my thoughts. Here’s what I thought…
As a North Londoner I need to have a really good reason to venture down South. When I was contacted by Bordelaise to come and review the restaurant, I genuinely had to consider whether it was worth my while trecking all 16 miles (as the crow flies) from our front door.
I think it’s fair to say that what Bordelaise is offering is genuinely unique. They describe their menu as containing rustic sharing dishes inspired by the Bordeaux region: classic french cuisine with a modern twist. The aim is for diners to try a range of dishes which can be shared around the table along with a good bottle of (French) wine.
It sounded good to me and so we booked a table for a Saturday evening at 6pm.
The recently revamped market in the heart of Tooting is very “trendy”. The maze of little stalls and shops was buzzing even at 6pm when we arrived and got busier and busier as the evening went on.
It’s an ecclectic mix which no doubt represents the diveristy of Tooting itself. Highlights for us had to be the craft beer and cider stalls just up from Bordelaise which were a great place to stop for a pre-dinner drink.
Bordelaise can be found towards the back at the market but is by no means hidden away. It’s one of the biggest restaurants and catches your eye at the end of the narrow walkway with a wall of twinkling fairy lights.
We were seated by one of two waitresses who was working that evening. She greated us with a big open smile and soon sat us at our table. She introduced the menu well and was able to suggest the perfect sauvignon blanc to compliment our selection of dishes.
Throughout our meal the service we had was the right balance of attentive but not intrusive. I really couldn’t fault either of the waitresses!
I am a huge fan of the sharing / small plate trend at the minute because, quite frankly, I am greedy! I love that I don’t have to choose any one dish and can try a little of 4, 5 or even 6!
We were advised that the cold plates are slightly smaller than the hot ones so we opted for 4 hot plates and 2 cold plates making 6 to share between the two of us.
As some of you will know, Jon is a veggie and I am very much an omnivore so half our dishes were vegetarian. It’s not often that there is enough choice on a menu for us to be able to do that. And, perhaps mistakenly, we had expected a French restaurant to be a little short on vegetarian options.
Fortunately Jon wasn’t left hungry!
Homemade Duck rillette with toast (£7.50)
The first thing I ordered was the duck rillette. For those of you who don’t speak French, duck rillette is very, very simillar to a pate. And therefore unsurprisingly delicious. The rillette is a moist, rich, creamy spread of shredded duck that is served next to a small side salad with radishes, pickles and wonderful toasted slices of sourdough toast.
The rillette itself was seasoned perfectly. It was the right amout of salty but also slightly sweet. I loved the texture of the shredded meat and could happily have eaten it by the forkful, especially as the pickled cornichons and pearl onions brought sharp acidity to the dish which helped it all slide down nicely.
It seems mad getting excited over bread which is really just an accompaniment but I must say the bread was delicious. It had been griddled and had these wonderful char marks which really bought out an earthy quality to the bread. Any restaurant that serves up bread of this quality along with a portion of pate is one worth eating at!
Figs, roquefort cheese, walnuts and spinach salad (£6)
The veggie cold dish we opted for was the fig and blue cheese salad. These were classic combinations so we didn’t doubt that we’d enjoy it.
What took this dish from good to great however was the attention to detail. The balance of fig to cheese to walknut and spinach was spot on. Every mouthful had a bit of everything. There’s nothing worse than running out of fig or blue cheese.
It also tasted as though the walnuts had been caramelised which was a really nice touch. Clearly it was more than just a good assembly job.
Rigatoni pasta, girolles mushrooms & truffled mascapone (£8)
The first hot dish that arrived out of the kitchen was the vegetarian pasta dish. Now, you’re probably thinking pasta is more Italian than French? And it took a fair amount of discussion before we decided we would order it (I picked snails which balanced it out).
The pasta was cooked well, not too hard but not too soft and the sauce clung perfectly to it. It was a rich, gooey delight but not at all overpowering.
I do a banging cheese sauce myself but this was on another level. Thanks to the mascapone it was more milky and creamy than distinctively cheesey which you get with cheese sauces made with stronger varieties like cheddar or parmesan.
The real plus for us was that this dish came out piping hot. It had clearly been cooked to order and the cheese on top was at the perfect melting point – just check out the stringy cheese shot above!
Slow braised beef cheek croquettes with saffron aioli (£8)
Next out of the kitchen were three perfectly spherical beef cheek croquettes. The glutton that I am, I was initally dissapointed the portion looked small. But, by the end of the meal I was struggling to finish them, despite them being my favourite dish of the meal.
Each ball had a thin crispy crust which gave way into soft, buttery beef cheek. They were packed with meat. I had expected there to be some sort of “filler” but these were loaded with tender beef cheeks.
Again the dish was very well seasoned (a theme throughout the meal) and the delicate microherbs perched on top delivered a lovely peppery note. Clearly they weren’t just for show!
If there’s one thing I insist you order when you visit, it’s the beef cheek croquettes.
Shallots and goat cheese tatin (£8)
Any vegetarian diners will be pleased to know there is a goats cheese tart on the menu. I say this partly in jest as it is often the only vegetarian option on a menu.
Although not our favourite dish of the meal, the portion size was very generous and got devoured in its entirety pretty damn quick.
The flaky pastry on the bottom had soaked up a lot of the buttery juices from the caramelised shallots. They were super soft and sweet which is just the way I like them (no raw onion for me please) which meant they balanced out the slightly salty and tart goats cheese on top.
It was a rather rustic affair that was very in keeping with the rest of the menu.
Snails and bone marrow persillade (£8)
Last but not least were the snails. They came out in a miniature cast iron pan and was covered in the persillade (a chopped mixture of parsley and garlic which seemed to be in almost equal proportions!)
If I’ve ever eaten snails before I don’t remember it and so ordering them was a bit of a gamble. I will, for the most part, eat absolutely anything and the first mouthful went down surprisngly well.
For those of you who haven’t tried snails before let me give you an idea of what to expect. They are funny little curled up things (probably a good thing the lighting was dim as they aren’t all that appetising to look at). The texture is slightly chewy but not at all rubbery, a bit like well cooked octopus or squid. They definitely reminded me more of seafod than anything else.
I’m pleased I tried them, but to be honest, they are an acquired taste and they just weren’t the dish for me.
Prune and Armagnac Clafouti (£6)
Jon had absolutely loved each and every one of the dishes we had tried. I think he was a little dissapointed we hadn’t ordered more but by this point I wished I was wearing stretchy jogging bottoms rather than skinny jeans. Nearly all of our bottle of wine had gone and I was ready for a nap.
Still, it would be rude not to try dessert and so we opted for the prune and armangnac clafouti with two spoons so we could share.
A clafouti is a baked cuastard like batter, often poured over cherries. I’ve never come across a clafouti I didn’t like and this prune variety was no exception. It wasn’t overly sweet and you could really taste the alcohol in the prunes. They were juicy and bursting with flavour.
The slither on our plate disappeared all too fast and in hindsight I wish we’d ordered two!
Would I return?
Overall, we had an amazing meal. The vibe in the restaurant was a good mix of buzzing but relaxed. It wasn’t noisy or overcrowded, but by 8 o clock the restaurnat was full and everyone looked like they were having a good time.
I think it says a lot when Deliveroo show up – clearly there’s a loyal clientelle who like to eat their French small plates from the comfort of their sofa. And can I blame them? Unfortunately I don’t think it would be warm by the time it got up to Enfield!
I would go back, and have been raving about Bordelaise to all of my friends who live in that neck of the woods.
We felt that the meal was good value and fantastic quality – if they opened up in Central I don’t doubt they would be a hit but its much nicer that they are a more homely affair located in Broadway Market (for now!)
Plan your visit
I was under no obligation at all to give a good review but if I’ve convinced you to go then make sure you book a table! I’m sure you won’t be dissapointed. Give them a call or book online using the link below!
Visit: Bordelaise Broadway Market, Tooting SW17 0RJ
Call: 020 8767 5008
Book online: via Optentable.