Côte Brasserie has a clear mandate from when you step inside its welcoming doors: offer a sophisticated, friendly and affordable dining experience without serving too many curve balls. A Zizzi for French food, if you will.
We were greeted warmly as soon as we arrived, and seated at our table as our coats were taken (ooh, posh). The menu is quite substantial to choose from (which always makes me nervous), with a selection of French favourites such as roasted duck breast, moules marinière, steaks and salads (which looked very substantial when I eyeballed nearby tables).
Their Plats Rapides menu also offers decent value, as you can choose from minute steak & frites, moules frites and duck confit dishes for between £11.50 and £12.50 – a good option if you do just want a quick munch before the cinema.
We decided to go for the Chicken Liver Parfait (£6.25) and French Onion Soup (£5.75) to start – my onion soup came out sizzling in a pretty (if a little scruffy with overspill, but just look at all that cheese!) bowl which was deceptively deep with a comforting broth, and my companion’s parfait was also decently sized, with some long slices of toasted bread and a small jar of chutney to accompany it. They were hefty, rich dishes, and a good indicator of what was to come.
Our mains took the stodginess up a level, with my companion opting for the Beef Bourguignon (£14.95), whilst I chose the Cassoulet de Toulouse (13.95). We decided to go full carb extravaganza with Gratin Potato (£2.95) and French Beans (£2.95) on the side.
Again both were extremely comforting and generously portioned dishes, well seasoned and well cooked. I think the gratin potato could have done with a bit more flavour (herbs, garlic…anything really), but everything else did what it said on the tin – the Bourguignon was particularly tasty, although neither of us finished our sizeable dishes.
With very little room remaining in our stomachs, we still reckoned we had room for dessert (separate stomach and that). Our choices were the Praline Crêpe (£6.25) and the pain perdu (a special that night, I think it was about £6), which definitely tipped us over the edge. The crêpe was the better of the two – a nice sauce, some tasty caramelised bananas…it was a big hit of sugar without being too heavy after our big meal.
It may not be worth a detour if you’re comparing it to other sophisticated establishments in the city, but if you find yourself in search of a classy dinner around Broadmead or Cabot Circus, Côte will do a good job of filling you up with some hearty French fare without the exorbitant prices of some bistros.
6-8 Quakers Friars
Disclaimer doodle: We received this meal free of charge, but in no way did it impact on our opinion, and we did not have to show any review copy in advance.