In a world of uncertainty, Brasserie Blanc stands resolute, confident in its offering, consistency it’s middle name. So while other Oxford restaurants have come and gone, it has reigned supreme in Jericho for 27 years now.
However, never one to rest on its laurels, gone is the calm blue hue of yesteryear and in its place a fresh new look, its green exterior giving it a clean, crisp feel that entices you in, while a new colour scheme provides a lighter interior, complete with scenic wallpaper and embroidered furnishings.
The staff are as professional and upbeat as ever, which always gives Brasserie Blanc that especially refined air, and they seated us in the front restaurant, from where you can watch Jericho go about its daily business.
‘Brasserie Blanc is the ultimate safe pair of culinary hands’
The menu is always a delight, so many alluring dishes to choose from, constantly updated to suit the seasons.
But the morteau sausage salad (£9.95), with pan-fried smoked Morteau sausage, white wine potato salad, poached St. Ewe egg and Dijon mustard dressing is a classic, and tempting enough to make me forego my usual cheese soufflé, with all those wonderful nods to Alsace-Lorraine that you’d hope for, perfect mountain-climbing fodder.
It was accompanied by a zingingly fresh trio of beetroot, bulgar wheat salad, humous, piquillo peppers and a balsamic reduction (£8.95); a vibrant, clever dish, beautifully presented, dense with pine nuts and herbs and a great lunchtime addition for anyone wanting something a bit lighter or kinder to the waist-line.
Fish next – the pan fried stone bass with grenobloise sauce (hailing from Grenoble it includes browned butter, capers, parsley and lemon) and served here with croutons, brown shrimps, capers, crushed new potatoes and wilted spinach (£22.50).
Such an elegant and refined plate; the fish cooked beautifully, the skin crisp, the sauce soaking silkily into the veg, so very French!
A stouter meal – the home-made herb gnocchi with truffled Jerusalem artichoke velouté, wild mushrooms and artichoke crisps (£15.95), was another tasty take on a classic, but perhaps needed a bit more sauce to offset the dense potato pasta.
But by then our eyes were already on the main prize. The pistachio soufflé (£8.65) appearing piping hot and rising magnificently from its ramekin, with just the right wobble, the dark chocolate ice cream on hand to cool it all down.
The first spoon is the best, piercing that hot sugary, airy rush of green goodness, although the rest disappeared remarkably fast. Always sublime.
But the bramley apple and gooseberry crumble with vegan custard (£8.95) was a firm contender, perfect winter fare, the apple soft and sweet, the crumble sugary with a bite, the custard served cold.
So yes a sophisticated spot that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Which presumably is why Brasserie Blanc is always busy; because it manages to cater for everyone and everything from business lunches to birthdays, catch ups to a more spontaneous visit.
The service is great, the atmosphere relaxed but upbeat and the food never lets you down.No wonder Raymond Blanc still goes there so often! Brasserie Blanc is the ultimate safe pair of culinary hands.
Brasserie Blanc is at 71-72 WALTON STREET, OXFORD OX2 6AG. https://brasserieblanc.com/restaurants/oxford/#