Review: Bagatelle London
Review: Bagatelle London
Anize Keers spends an evening at the French Mediterranean fine-dining restaurant that comes alive to party at night.
Bagatelle brings the South of France to the heart of Mayfair with a lively atmosphere and a flair for good food accompanied by great drinks. With a reservation for 7pm, my plus-one and I headed down to Dover Street where Bagatelle cannot be missed with its bold urban chic neon signs lighting up the road.
As we were seated at our table I was in awe of the decadent décor. With a low-lit setting and large chandeliers, adorned with neon flares and alluring bursts of colour the restaurant oozes enchanting modern elegance. The ambience was relaxed yet upbeat with soft music playing in the background and lively chatter filling the air. The energetic servers promptly presented us with an extensive drinks menu of signature cocktails, wines and spirits and enthusiastically talked us through some of the most popular recommendations. Opting for a classic we went for the spin on the famous passionfruit martini.
For starters, the menu offers a wide selection of flavours and choices with a French influence. The appetisers include small sharing plates such as a corn pie with squid confit, tomato and marjoram coulis and fried ravioli with summer herbs mesclun and seaweed gomasio. There is also an impressive list of salads and a ‘cru’ section featuring ceviche, tartar and carpaccio.
Speaking to Chef Rocco, Corporate Chef of Bagatelle Group, I asked what some of his inspirations are behind the flavours of the extensive appetizer selections. Chef Rocco told us: “I do have a special affection for Mediterranean flavours, particularly the briny aspect and refreshing lemon notes that bring a floral essence. Elements such as coral, olive oil, basil leaves, and black lemon powder are truly inspiring to me.
In my approach, it’s the product itself that dictates how we prepare and present it. Let’s take the example of the prawn carpaccio, a delicate dish in itself. Our intention is to showcase it, to let it shine on its own. However, we can’t help but add a touch of olive oil, fresh basil, zesty lemon, and coral to enhance its flavours. This way, it transforms into a complete dish that can be enjoyed year-round.”.
Opting to try the red gamberoni in carpaccio it was one of my favourite dishes of the evening. I found it to be a harmonious blend of fresh sweetness with the zesty marinade of flavours balancing out the prawn’s natural briny taste. The corn pie starter was another favourite with a grand crunch and a smooth flavourful centre offering an aromatic blend of herbs and spices to bring together the savoury taste of tomato and squid.
For a warmer option with incredible sauce, I recommend the tasty spunta potatoes stuffed with pan-fried foie gras and Albufera truffle sauce. As good as it sounds and looks below, this appetiser could be a main on its own. The rich sauce elevates the delicious creamy filling and buttery texture for a luxurious taste.
On to the main courses, choosing between the incredible Mediterranean-inspired meat and fish dishes was a delightful challenge. I opted for the oven-cooked octopus confit lacquered with spices and citrus vierge sauce. Each bite melted away on the tongue and the naturally mild slightly sweet taste of the octopus was heightened by the spicy marinade delivering a powerful kick of flavour. My plus one opted for the wood-grilled duck breast lacquered with citrus honey. One of the most tender and succulent pieces of meat we had ever tried, the rich robust natural taste of the meat was beautifully enhanced by the subtly sweet sauce and the skin was seared for the perfect texture.
By now it was around 9pm and Bagatelle had upped the ante – the restaurant came to life and got the party started. With the music turned up a notch, the front-of-house team was the first to dance from table to table making sure everyone was entertained. Delicious fruity shots were offered around, and the drinks kept flowing. I treated myself to the signature cocktail ‘Fleur De Lis’, a tangy blend of tequila, homemade yuzu, lemon sherbet and cold-pressed apple. The bitter notes mixed perfectly with the sweetness of fruity citrus.
At the same time, sweet tooths all around were craving a dessert and Bagatelle sure knows how to deliver. Chef Rocco told us: “As for desserts, it’s always a challenge to pick just one, but we do have a signature dish that has been on the menu for three years: the millefeuille with lace crepes. The combination of its crispiness, aromas, and lightness makes it an absolutely essential dessert. We aim to create something light, airy, and almost nostalgic, combining the crispiness of the crepe with the cream’s sweetness”.
Being unable to resist I indulged in the crepes and I cannot fault Chef Rocco’s description. The crispy crepe paired with sweet cream made for a delightful treat after a big meal. Our party then had the pleasure of trying just a little of a few more of the amazing signature desserts. The classic ‘Tropézienne à la vanille de Madagascar’ is one of Bagatelle’s most loved dishes. The light brioche cake filled with cream was fluffy and sweet without being sickly, offering just the right balance of vanilla and sponge.
New additions to the menu include the Jivara chocolate pizza topped with caramelised Piedmont hazelnuts, and the incredible golden milk chocolate bar with Rooibos tea ganache, created by Corporate Bagatelle Pastry Chef Manon Santini. The chocolate bar is smooth and creamy with the perfect blend of all three chocolate types, while the pizza is a sweet and savoury mix with the perfect amount of crunch.
For a night out on the town, Bagatelle is sure to offer a lively evening with exquisite dishes and drinks. I would definitely recommend skipping the crawl to find a bar for afterwards and instead spend your night in the one relaxed yet refined place with good music, an extensive menu and a stocked bar.
34 Dover St,
Mayfair, W1S 4NG,