We walked to Brasserie Gustave from our hotel in Earl’s Court — it was about twenty minutes away, like most places in Knightsbridge, and we wanted to see more of our area.
The restaurant is located on a side street off Fulham Road, and it’s easy to have to look twice before realizing the beautiful house you’re looking at is in fact a little French restaurant. It tells you what to expect, right away: a cozy home-like feeling, warm and intimate.
Annemari and I were starving after our blogger event, so when I looked at the menu I had a hard time deciding — I wanted this, but I wanted that, too, and that! I’m rarely hungry for more than I can actually eat, so that was a strange feeling. Thankfully I was able to make some choices, presumably because I was in a legit restaurant and I didn’t want to stick out too much.
Right away we were brought a drinks menu, and I got a lovely glass of Chardonnay that I sipped on quietly while trying to help Annemari pick an entree.
While waiting for our food, we were brought gazpacho andalou compliments of the chef. For a Spanish person, I’m not a huge fan of gazpacho — I generally find either overly tomato-y or a little too thick — so I was slightly reluctant to try it, but it was delicious, the perfect consistency, and ruled my stomach into submission. I loved the refreshing taste of it and the hint of pepper breaking through the tomato flavor.
To begin, I ordered escargots à la Bourguignonne, which were served in this adorable ceramic plate with a snail-shaped pastry on top. The snails were unshelled and buried in the little compartments filled with parsley and butter. It was a great way to have snails again for the first time in — wow, a few years! My only complaint was the hot butter smell; I had a bit of an issue with this throughout the meal. The food tasted great, but after a while I had to dodge the smell of heat while eating because it was overwhelming. It’s why I didn’t finish my pastry (but by god, all the snails went down and went down good).
Annemari, who is an even pickier eater than I am, ordered a seasonal salad with summer vegetables, Jersey royals and grilled goat cheese. The goat cheese had a crunchy base and she really enjoyed it, but the salad was seasoned with vinegar rather strongly, which wasn’t mentioned on the menu, so if you’re not into vinegar, I would avoid this starter! There are plenty others to choose from.
The mains — you guys, there were so many choices and I really wanted the seabass but I also really wanted meat, so we compromised and Annemari got duck breast because it was the only thing on the menu that appealed to her — I told you she was picky — and I got the seared seabass.
So how they serve the seabass is, they bring out a table with a cooker on it and they light it on fire in front of you.
Annemari was delighted. I waited for someone else to order it so I could get better pictures of the flames, because I was Not Prepared.
The mains were just fucking amazing. Both of them. I ate some of Annemari’s when she got tired of eating, and I fell in love. I’d never had duck before, and it’s fantastic — it’s somewhere between chicken and lamb in texture and taste, and I went looking for it when I got home and found out they don’t sell it at most supermarkets and if they do it’s incredibly expensive, which is ridiculous because France is right there. But whatever, Ciudad Real! You keep on sucking.
I used to be rather averse to the idea of sweet sauces with meat, until my mom decided to try some kind of mustard sauce with roast pork and it turned out I loved it. I don’t even like mustard. So I was more open after that.
After the duck breast with cherry sauce at Brasserie Gustave, I am a convert.
The duck is accompanied by Lorette potatoes, which are very soft balls with a mashed potato-like consistency. The almond potatoes that garnished my seabass plate were more solid and, well, covered in almond bits. So they were hands down the winner in the potato fight.
The seabass was served on a bed of absinthy fennel. The absinthe reminded me of my childhood, which is about when I last smelled it, and in fact I had to look it up online to connect the dots and realize absinthe, in Spanish, is anís. I’m terrible. The fennel was familiar, but I don’t know if I’ve ever actually eaten it. All I can say is it was a really good complement to the white fish and I devoured it.
After eating gazpacho, most of Annemari’s salad, my snails, my seabass, and three slices of Annemari’s duck breast (and I could have gone for more), I scanned the dessert menu trying to find it in me to ask for a tarte tatin, or something a little more out there than ice cream, but I just couldn’t do it. It was too much food. So Annemari and I each had two scoops of homemade ice cream — cherry and chocolate for me, chocolate and vanilla for her.
It was very comfortable laying my head on Annemari’s shoulder while we gathered the strength to get back on our feet. There were a couple of groups of people surrounding us, and the atmosphere was just wonderful. But we managed to get up eventually. I look forward to going back!
Pricing + Where
Starters are priced at £8 to £14; mains range from £18 to £34; sides are £4 each, and desserts are between £6.5 and £8. There is also a fixed price menu at £19.5 for two courses and £22.5 for three. You can find out more on the website.
4 Sydney Street
SW3 6PP London
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal in exchange for an honest review. I wouldn’t be writing about it if Annemari and I hadn’t enjoyed it.