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27 June 2012
Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec
140 Newington Butts
020 7582 6800
Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec dominates Newington Butts as it overlooks the main road out of Southwark and into Lambeth. Inside it reminds one of a Gothic mansion or French Chateau with dark wood and timbered columns. The tables are set in a traditional style reflecting the aspirations of the owners to high French cuisine.
The Viking and myself were met by smartly dressed waitresses who gave us a choice of tables; we chose a window table to watch the street action of The Butts.
Nolan, a co-owner, introduced himself and gave us a little information on his domain while we supped on a very pleasant white wine. Nolan had chosen this for his House wine and it reached all expectations.
A rather scrumptious menu was mouth-watering but also difficult to choose from as everything looked good. I decided to go French all the way and started with Burgundy Snails. The hot garlic butter they came sizzling in was mopped up with delicious artisan bread. The Norwegian Nutter went for a Cassolette of Mussels with Edamame beans, an unusual mix but one that worked extremely well.
The dulcet tones of a tinkling piano trickled down from above and harmonised with the squeals of a group of young woman catching up over dinner.
The décor is more French than any of those Café Rouge places. Books sat around, and posters lured one into the delights on offer in the Moulin Rouge. The diminutive French artist who gave his name to the establishment was everywhere. People were entering and either going upstairs to listen to music over a beer and bar snack, downstairs to the private dining room where a party was taking place, or finding a table in the usual restaurant.
For my main course I went for the Slow-Cooked Shoulder of Lamb, with Sauté Vegetables and Redcurrant Sauce, a fantastic piece of meat that melted under the touch of the knife. The potatoes and green beans it was accompanied by were perfect.
Vi had opted for the Panfried Fillets of Seabass with Sauté Vegetables & Basil Cream Sauce. She said the fish could not have been cooked any better.
Nolan came over and suggested we should try upstairs to have our dessert, so off we went. There was a bar serving rare Belgian beers with their own glasses – one looking like a miniature yard of ale - and several people sat around enjoying the pianist singing old classics and contemporary favourites. Nolan told us the Monday night Jazz Jam session was particularly popular.
Our final courses arrived. These were dishes we had really had trouble deciding over as they all looked good on the menu. I eventually chose the Fig and Shortcake Tart with Yogurt Ice Cream. The figs were a little over-caramelised but the flavours were all there. The Viking went for the classic Homemade Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream which she did not want to share!
After all that we felt like two stuffed, fat French farmers and that is not a bad feeling. Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec has it all going for it. There is a roof terrace for al fresco dining (when the rain stops), speciality beers, good wine, good music and, above all, good food.
House white £14.95
Bread and Butter £2.20
2 x 3-Course Set Menu £50.00
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