The other week, I visited what has to be one of my newest favourite restaurants for a lovely little lunch break. Brasserie Blanc is a restaurant by Raymond Blanc, and I have to admit after walking past the one in Knutsford several times, I’ve never booked myself in.
They are situated at various locations, but Knutsford is the one closest to me. You can also find them in Hale, for those around the Manchester/Cheshire area.
I saw it as a special restaurant, one for occasions and was secretly hoping someone would spoil me one day and book me in. However, when I heard that they have launched their new menus for Spring Summer 2019 and I had a little look, I realised I shouldn’t be saving this place for an occasion – as lovely as it is, of course.
I booked in with my sister on a Friday lunchtime, to check out the new menus and try out the food. The new menu is inspired by Raymond Blanc’s travels around the world, bringing a more eclectic range of offerings.
From a Chinese inspired Gunpowder chicken to a Moroccan mezze platter, Raymond’s love of travel combines with classic French dishes for a taste of adventure this spring.
First lets look at the interior of the Knutsford restaurant. What a stunning place, so premium and special looking, with deep navy walls, bright spotlight lighting features, heavy curtain lined windows and a rustic wood finish to the floors, tables and chairs.
The place oozed charm and sophisticated as soon as we arrived. To say we were there fairly early (midday) the place got really busy from 12.30 onward, with couples, families and workers flocking in for a Friday lunchtime feast. And a tipple, of course.
I began with a soya latte, while browsing the menus for a starter and a main course. The waitress brought us over a selection of breads, olives and dips while we made our choices, which in all honesty, I devoured rather quickly and could have made that my starter!
The bread basket was full of crispy edged fluffy white bread, paired with the garlic and spiced olives and three delicious dips.
We noted they had a lovely offer on of two courses for £11 over lunch time, which featured a rather extensive array of choices. My sister almost ordered from there, but then we quickly decided to indulge in the main menu and opt for some of the new dishes on the list!
After whittling my choices down to 3 (I always do this), I was ready to go with the Moroccan Mezze Platter starter and the Harrisa Glazed Aubergine with Butternut Squash baba-ganoush, pine nuts, pomegranate seeds & flatbreads.
My sister went for the Grilled Lightly Smoked Salmon with Beetroot and Horseradish – a Scottish salmon fillet, trio of beetroot, cauliflower and
For mains, she went with the new addition to the main menu, the Gunpowder spiced half roast chicken with papaya salad, which looked absolutely delicious with a honey, soy & sriracha glaze, green papaya salad and a cashew & citrus dressing.
The Morrocan Mezze came on an exotic plate filled with harissa aubergine, globe artichoke, falafel with coconut cashew cream, houmous selection, pomegranate seeds, cherry tomato salad & flatbread slices. This dish beautifully infused North African flavours, giving a mixed taste of creamy and rich houmous and creams over gently spiced foods, with lashings of salad and tasty soft bread.
Presentation was fabulous for this dish too!
The Smoked Salmon starter was a nice twist to have this lightly grilled, as I usually only see this as a raw dish. It was grilled to perfection, giving the ideal texture, with a range of flavours surrounding the fish.
So I may have doubled up on the aubergine front, but I really wanted to try the Harissa Glazed Aubergine main course to see how I can spice up aubergines myself to make and create at home.
The flavours infused into the aubergine were sweet and creamy, made interesting with the tasty crunch of sweet pomegranate seeds. Aside with the baba-ganoush, pine nuts & flatbread, this became a hearty, filling meal which I really want to create back at home!
The chicken was a real winner, and I can see why this dish is a popular one with the new menu. The roast chicken came slightly sticky and sweet, sprinkled and cooked with spices which blended well with the honey, soy & sriracha glaze. Add the crunch of the green papaya salad, with cashews & citrus dressing, and you have a unique chicken dish that was mouth watering and more-ish.
The waitress also paired us with a deliciously fresh and zingy white wine which I have since bought myself since dining here. The picpoul de pinet is a dry white wine that goes perfect served with chicken and fish, and is a delight to drink.
I could have stayed for dessert, especially after seeing the rhubarb and creamy custard tart with cinder toffee, poached pink champagne rhubarb and honeycomb crunch, as well as a old time favourite traditional British sticky toffee pudding, which comes with Normandy crème fraîche, crunchy nougatine and red vein sorrel.
But I knew I wouldn’t be able to get out of my chair from all the bread I’d shoved down me in the short space of an hour!
Huge thank you to everyone who looked after us. The team were fantastic from start to finish, and overly informative about all our food and drink choices.
I’ll be back again for sure…