One of my local restaurants (well, 5 minutes in the car) is Gazette in Battersea. Gazette is a wonderful French restaurant, just a short walk from Wandsworth roundabout. I have been here many times…for birthday parties and Christmas dinners with friends (its one of the only restaurants I can drag my North London friends South of the river for), on romantic dates and on Saturday night I took my parents who had come to London to visit me.
Gazette offers simple, rustic, authentic French food in a quirky, relaxed setting. One feature I especially love is the huge bookcase/room separator which is filled with antique bottles, vases and piles of old books.
Once we were seated, our very friendly waiter brought us a complimentary basket of beautiful fresh and warm sliced baguette and salted butter. We ordered a glass of champagne each to begin and my goodness, it was lovely. I seem to have had pretty rotten champagne recently but this was on another level.
Having eaten at Gazette several times, I have worked my way around the menu a fair bit but on Saturday night I opted for my favourites. To start, I ordered the Foie Gras Chaud (£11.50), pan fried foie gras with apple, lime and chestnuts…
Wow, this was rich! It was a huge portion for a starter and to be honest I would have been happy with half the amount. The foie gras was gloriously buttery and melted in my mouth beautifully. The chestnuts and apples added some much needed texture and sweetness. I didn’t taste the lime. As much as I enjoyed this, I found it just a little heavy as a starter. It was quite oily and so rich that I felt quite full afterwards.
While we were waiting for our main courses, we watched while the table next to us were presented with their Chateaubriand. It was brought out whole and placed on a separate table and sliced in front of us. It looked and smelled incredible and I suddenly felt hungry again. There is a certain amount of theatre involved in the presentation of the food at Gazette. I ordered the beef tartare (£16.50) which was assembled at the table.
First came a selection of bottles including Worcester sauce, Tabasco and a few others I didn’t recognise. Then came a slate with a perfectly round mound of beef mince topped with an egg yolk. Next to it were four perfect looking lines of what looked like chopped onion, capers, cornichons and herbs. This was all added to a bowl containing mustard and then mixed together.
It was then reshaped and placed back on the slate…
The finished result was just divine. There was a fair amount of heat from the mustard and the texture was soft and moist. It really hit the spot. The fries, served in small pots, were amazing. I’m pretty sure they were triple cooked as they were incredibly crispy on the outside but gorgeous and fluffy inside. Best fries I’ve had in a very long time.
My mum and dad both opted for medium-rare rib eye steaks with a peppercorn sauce on the side (£16.50) which were served on wooden boards, perfectly chargrilled and melt-in-the-mouth delicious.
At this stage I was stuffed and we decided not to have dessert. That was until we saw desserts landing on the table next to us. So we decided to get Les Petits Pots (£5.50), little chocolate pots with freshly cooked madeleines…
This was so delicious but I could have done with just the one pot, I didn’t need two. The chocolate was rich and smooth and a thicker texture than a mousse. The madeleines were sublime. They were baked to order, coming to the table warm and with a thin crusty outside and a middle that was as light as air. Absolutely glorious.
At the end of the meal we all felt full but very, very happy. It was an incredibly decadent evening of wonderful food in a lovely restaurant with a great atmosphere and friendly and attentive staff. What more could you ask for?
Gazette, 79 Sherwood Court, Chatfield Road, London, SW11 3UY
020 7223 0999