Are you sitting at your office desk dreaming of an idyllic holiday in the south of France, but you can’t afford to leave London this summer? Don’t despair, as you can at least get a taste of France with the new Summer en Provence set menu at Aubaine restaurants.
Aubaine is a small chain of restaurants offering great French food in the relaxed and rustic ambience of a Provençal bistro. Last week I was invited to taste their summer menu at one of the nine London restaurants. I picked the Marylebone branch, located on Moxton Street, just off Marylebone High Street.
This is one of my favourite neighbourhoods of central London, so I was pleased to have an excuse to go there and have a little wander around its pretty streets. The restaurant is quite large with a room facing the street and another, bigger one, at the back. It offers a relaxed but elegant atmosphere, and an attentive service.
My friend Victoria, Pommie Travels, joined me for lunch and we had a lovely time tasting the 3-course summer menu and chatting over a bottle of chilled French wine.
The Summer en Provence set menu features seasonal starters, main courses and desserts created by Aubaine’s Executive Chef Anthony Ekizian, as well as rosé wines and lavender infused cocktails.
My favourite dish was this starter: Provençal Pistou with Bayonne ham, a fresh and summery cold soup.
Victoria tried a salad of Faisselle (French soft cheese), cherry tomatoes, basil cress and pansies. I am really into fresh tomato salads at the moment and this dish looked refreshing and tasty.
The menu offers four choices of main course: fish soup, vegetarian tart, chicken or steak (which is available for a £3 supplement).
I ordered the Roasted corn fed chicken breast with green olives, rosemary and toasted fregola (a type of Sardinian pasta similar to Israeli couscous). It’s a light dish without any strong, punchy flavours, and I liked the pairing of chicken with a green olive sauce and the soft fregola.
The chicken paired really well with the wine our waiter recommended, a fruity Grenache Blanc from Côtes de Thau, Monrouby (Languedoc 2014).
For her main course, Victoria chose a traditional Provençal fish stew, the Bouillabaisse, with seabass, red mullet, mussels, squid, tomatoes and potatoes.
As in any French restaurant, pâtisserie is a big part of what’s on offer at Aubaine and I was looking forward to tasting the desserts by Chef Patissier Alix. Victoria ordered a classic French fraisier, a sponge cake filled with crème pâtissière and strawberries.
I ordered a traditional Tart Tropezienne: a buttery brioche filled with smooth cream, which at Aubaine is made with a touch of orange blossom for a twist to the classic. It was really delicious, the cream was sweet but not too rich.
I had a really nice experience at Aubaine and I would definitely visit the restaurant again, for the food but also the ambience and service. The Summer en Provence set menu is available until Tuesday 30th August. The price for two courses is £15.50 and for three courses is £19.50.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of the restaurant. All opinions are my own.