Refurbished Kingston Côte
On a Thursday evening during the January sales, one would expect the restaurants on Kingston riverside to be busy.
This certainly wasn’t the case the other evening, as most restaurants were exceptionally empty…with the exception of Côte. This could have been due to the extensive ad campaign for the Kingston branch, but I think it is more the fact that folk know that Côte offers excellent value for money, and consistently good food.
This particular branch has just benefitted from a mega refurb, resulting in a new bar, tables more spaced out, and a fabulous cheese counter.
Menus and Lighting
There is also currently a special Alpine menu, that looks very yummy, but rather too carb heavy for our taste. On that subject, now that large restaurant groups have, by law, to denote the calorie counts on their menus, I was relieved to see that the ones at Côte were in such small type that one could easily ignore them!
That said, trying to read the menu was rather difficult as the ‘soft’ lighting and tea lights on the tables meant that we, and people at other tables, had to use our phone torches to be able to see! Luckily, Jack, the assistant manager, spotted our dilemma and produced a cordless table lamp that did the trick beautifully. He explained that these are being trialled: well, we can definitely give them the proverbial thumbs up, and suggest they have one on every table.
Never one to resist a Negroni, I chose the Rose Negroni from the cocktail menu (Mirabeau French pink gin, Lillet rosé, Pampelle grapefruit apéritif & lemon peel).
It was pleasant, but I felt it lacked the all-important bitter element.
For starters. my husband chose the cheese souffle (twice-baked Camembert soufflé with a chive & mustard sauce) and I opted for Crab Madison (crab, avocado, cucumber, capers, shallots & mayonnaise, topped with sliced radish & served with toasted sourdough baguette).
The baguette slices were served warm with my crab and the dish was beautifully presented and packed with flavour and fresh herbs – tarragon being foremost. The radish slices added texture and a gentle hint of bitterness.
The souffle was rather heavy on the flour, we felt, and not that cheesy, but the sauce was really delicious and definitely saved the dish.
A bottle of French Malbec paired beautifully with our meal, and especially with my choice of lamb rump on a bed of anchovy braised lentils with Chantenay carrots & crispy leeks.
The lamb was pink and perfectly cooked and the lentils divinely garlicky! The crispy shredded leeks were a lovely touch too.
The other main dish was Boeuf Bourguignon from the Côte Classics section of the menu (6 hour slow-cooked beef, mushrooms, bacon lardons with potato purée & French streaky bacon). It was declared a triumph, but my main was so good I think I made the better choice.
We weren’t in the mood for anything sweet, so Jack persuaded us to try some cheese to accompany the rest of our red wine. I’m so glad we did: the special cheese menu is sensational – a choice of 13 different cheeses, all perfectly ripe and served with membrillo, fig chutney, baguette slices and rye crackers.
The cheese menu is divided into sections for ease of choice and we chose a creamy Delice de Bourgogne, a truffled brie and Roquefort.
The cheese was so good and in such prime condition that there was no need, in fact, for the membrillo or chutney to accompany it.
We had a lovely evening at Côte, and we were charmingly and efficiently served by Naimh, our waitress.
The good thing about this chain of restaurants is the consistency and value for money.
There are a number of special promotions in addition to the Prix Fixe menu.
A special Valentine’s menu at £80 for two and of course the current Alpine menu. Brunch is also served at the weekend and, if you sign up on the website for updates, you might benefit from one of their promotional offers too.
And, of course, with some of the weather we’ve endured recently, there is the option to cook your meal yourself with the excellent delivery service Côte at Home.