Home United KingdomLondonEC1 Bistro Bruno Loubet, Clerkenwell

Bistro Bruno Loubet, Clerkenwell

by Krista

Bistro bruno loubet

Bistro Bruno Loubet
86-88 Clerkenwell Road

Date of Last Visit: Monday, June 28th, 2010

The Victims: Cara, Alice

The Damage: £50ish each

The Background: Time passes so quickly. Before you know it, it's June and then July already.

Bistro Bruno Loubet is still new. Right? But it's been open since when? March? That's ancient in blog terms, where we–the royal we–all secretly strive to be the first to review any new restaurant. (Or at least–to be the second to blog about a place after the venerable Dos Hermanos. Simon moving to California means the field is WIDE open…)

I live right up the road from Bruno Loubet. (Stalkers take note.) And I've never been. Me, the local always griping about how no new places have opened in Clerkenwell in like F-O-R-E-V-E-R. (This is a lie. New places open in Clerkenwell all the time. Just not fast enough and close enough for me.)

But here I am, thanks to the industriousness of two fellow bloggers. It's Monday. I don't like to go out on Mondays. Monday night is MY night. Time to watch CSI Miami. Or New York. Or Las Vegas. I'm sure one of them is on. Probably all three. But–sigh–I guess I'll go out for dinner.

The Entrance: The maitre'd is weird. That's the only way to describe it. I feel like I'm stuck at an awkward party. I walk in. I say hello. He says hello. And then he just sorta stands there and stares at me. "Um, my friend Alice made a reservation for 7:30." (It's 7:20. You know I like to be early.) 

"Yes, she did," he responds.



"I guess I'll go to the bar for a drink then."

The Bar: At the bar, I feel like I'm that mouse that's always trying to get into my flat, foiled by my many many Ultrasonic Mouse Repellers. Because every time the bar staff turn on the beer tap, I WANT TO LEAVE. It is generating the highest pitched, most annoying noise ever. The staff all acknowledge the sound is very strange BUT NO ONE DOES ANYTHING ABOUT IT. And they continue to pour one beer after another.

Let me remind you all…All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men (or women) to do nothing.

The Service: Cara arrives and Alice soon afterwards. We are asked to take our table immediately because we only have the table for two hours. Let's just note that no one ever told Alice that when she booked.

But it's all okay because once we're seated, we're brought lots of tap water and our server is effervescently cheerful and makes all sorts of recommendations.

Bistro bruno loubet pea soup 

I have the pea soup to start. It's very pleasant.

(I should note that after hearing a fellow employee being described as "pleasant," I told my boss, "Please. I don't ever want to be known as the pleasant girl.")

Bistro bruno loubet lamb 
And then I have the lamb ball. They must have confused themselves momentarily with Giant Robot across the road, which serves a lot of ball-shaped food. Seriously. Sorry…sorry…someone is probably reading this and hating me right now. I believe this was confit lamb shoulder. It was dry. I became confused. And depressed.

The Verdict: Sometimes, I feel like I live in an alternate universe. How can everyone love a place so much that I, alas, found just okay?

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Laissezfare.wordpress.com July 8, 2010 - 9:23 pm

Hehe, great little review (short and to-the-point, just like mine…) 🙂

I haven’t been yet, but have had the same feeling about lots of places that everyone seems to love…and I’m sure lots of people haven’t gotten why I love some of the places I do. I guess that’s the nature of food…it’s subjective, it depends on the night (the staff, the kitchen, your own mood, the company) and is debatable. But of course we’re always right about our own experience, right?

Hope all is well.

Best regards,


Gourmet Chick July 8, 2010 - 11:34 pm

Very artistic angular photo at the top there Krista – sorry to hear you did not like your local that much. I totally agree the booking issue was annoying and that the lamb ball (!) was dry. My pigeon was amazing though and our waitress was super “pleasant” all very erratic really.

Emyr Thomas, Bon Vivant July 9, 2010 - 9:47 am

I have to say the same. Whilst I liked it there, I certainly didn’t love it. Perhaps we missed something?

Sasha @ The Happiness Project London July 9, 2010 - 9:55 am

ha ha – man I love your reviews, they make me laugh 🙂 A breath of fresh air in the world of food blogging!

This place was going to be added to my wishlist. It is now not going to be, or at least right at the end.

I too wish I could go to new places early – never happens though!

Look forward to the next reviews 🙂


Greedy Diva July 9, 2010 - 10:04 am

V funny – and how weird about the maitre’d. I think Laissez Fare has hit the nail on the head. I loved BBL – the food, the wine, the ambience, the staff, my companions, the sunshine streaming through the windows on a winters day – all the chemistry was there for me. But then, it happens to me all the time that others rave about a place and I think “yeah nice, but…?” – the X factor is missing. I’ve just written something in a similar vein about a little Sichuan place that everyone else seems to adore.

Lizzie July 9, 2010 - 2:36 pm

That often happens to me – namely bar boulud. That lamb ball looks weird.

Wild Boar July 9, 2010 - 5:19 pm

Maybe the maitre d and the bar turned you off your food.

Myself, I didn’t enjoy Franco Manca although the rest of London appears to love it. So as LF says, it’s all subjective.

Krista July 10, 2010 - 1:16 pm

Possibly, but the lamb really wasn't very good!

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Krista July 10, 2010 - 1:17 pm

Are you saying you didn't like bar boulud? What did you have?

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Krista July 10, 2010 - 1:18 pm

Everyone else loves it so really…don't not go because of me!

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Krista July 10, 2010 - 1:19 pm

Our waitress was great, that is true. They have a keeper there!

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Krista July 10, 2010 - 1:19 pm

PS and of course the company was lovely…

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Helen July 12, 2010 - 8:55 pm

That maitre’d! I couldn’t get over him. Totally the opposite when we went though; he was ALL OVER us. He kept making stupid jokes. It was really cringey.

Vanessa July 20, 2010 - 6:57 pm

I can so relate to this. I think we had the same maitre’d! Thankfully the remaining restaurant staff were all lovely, knowledgable and efficient. I can overlook the crazy maitre’d – at least he’s a character.

We too had the “lamb ball” which was dry. I mean…. lamb…confit….these things all scream “I AM MELTINGLY TENDER!!!” Quite disappointed that it wasn’t.

But I can only say that I would return in a heartbeat for 2 dishes: the mauricette snails served with dainty veal meatballs on the lightest of mushroom mousses. Packed full of rich flavour and so moreish. The chocolate dessert we shared was also a winner.

Sasha @ The Happiness Project London August 10, 2010 - 3:09 pm

Going tomorrow night actually so will let you know how I get on….

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