18 Selsdon Rd
Date of Last Visit: Thursday, April 23, 2009
The Victim: Myself
The Damage: About £18
The Background: I like my new phone–the Nokia e71–but I hate its camera. I like its Blackberry-like keyboard. I like the ease of checking my two main Gmail accounts and my Facebook account and Twitter, all in one-click.
But damn, does it take crappy photos. So you'll have to forgive the shots here. Please. (But I know you're here for the restaurant reviews and not the mobile phone reviews, right?) Unfortunately, the e71 was all I had when I found myself in Croydon with a few hours to kill.
Oddly, I found Croydon quite pleasant. There's good shopping in Croydon. And a nice pedestrian zone.
And a French restaurant. A good one. Although it's nowhere near the Home Office, where I was stuck for the day. Really, I should have taken the bus.
The Entrance: I've walked all the way from Lunar House to Le Cassoulet, on the advice of my fellow Twitter-fiends and London food and restaurant bloggers. I'd read about Le Cassoulet before, but I'd never really had a reason to go to Croydon before. But here I was. And I was sweaty and hot, to be honest. Croydon is hot. And a little bit loud. There are a lot of buses in Croydon.
But Le Cassoulet is cool and calm and tranquil. And there's no one there. Just me. Then again, they've been open all of like two minutes when I arrive.
The Service: They are sweet and hospitable and I'm given a comfortable table up front but against a little divider, which is nice. I defer to my server's recommendation for wine, which of course at this stage, I've completely forgotten. But it's nice. And I've brought my WSET books, so drinking alone at 12:30 on a Thursday somehow doesn't seem THAT weird.
Oddly, despite the very solid food, I was the only customer in the restaurant for the duration of my visit.
The Food: Asparagus, a poached egg, and some parmesan to start. Actually, a lot of parmesan. The presentation, I'd say, was exuberant. There was a lot of parmesan. This is not a bad thing. I just noticed it, that was all. The asparagus was great…firm, a little crunch to it, fresh. Lovely.
This was VERY quickly followed by sea bream and courgettes and I really enjoyed this. I know–I came all this way, why didn't I have the cassoulet? Well, like I said, it was HOT. Stew on a hot day just doesn't work for me. Hence the sea bream, which was nice and crispy on the outside, and lots of grilled courgettes. Nice.
The Verdict: I probably won't have a reason to go back to Croydon for a while. But I'm still glad I went to Le Cassoulet. And I'd say if you're in that neck of the woods, you should go too.