Cabotte arrived on the city scene in 2016, offering high-quality French dishes and a selection of more than 1,000 wines in a prime location. While it might not be a buzzy new opening, it’s well worth checking out this under-rated little gem. Here, The Handbook’s food and drink contributor Katie Renouf pays them a visit.
When I first arrive at Cabotte on Gresham Street, a stone’s throw from Bank station, I almost miss it entirely. The art-deco style frontage is pretty but doesn’t look large enough to house a restaurant.
The restaurant world is, however, full of welcome surprises and this is no exception – I step inside to a deceptively cavernous interior which is thriving, especially for a Monday night.
A seductive palette of dark woods and reds paves the way to the pièce de resistance; an alluringly glowing, gold-hued bar sitting in the centre of the ground floor.
There are a selection of dining spaces – we opt for the window to capture the last of the evening light, but there is also a busy area to the rear of the ground floor and private function rooms upstairs.
Restaurant manager Alfredo welcomes us and offers his guidance on food and drink selections. The menu is certainly a notch up from the cheese and meat boards offered by many. Here, seasonal produce drives an ever-changing selection of small and large plates.
The restaurant has Coravin, ensuring their patrons can sample their huge selection of wines – the largest in the city, I am told – by the glass. Hurrah!
Their website also lists their Burgundy partners, which I find a nice and personable touch. We decide to start our evening with some light snacks; sourdough with anchovies and a charcuterie board. The anchovies are mouth-pinchingly salty and oily, seeping into the crispy bread.
The charcuterie board boasts fine French and Italian meats; featuring salami, braesola, Parma ham and duck, the latter being the most interesting – beautifully tender, with an earthy, smoky and sweet flavour.
These dishes are paired with two reds; a 2020 Langhe Nebbiolo from the Piemonte region of Italy and a Burgundy Santenay Grand Clos Rousseau made with Pinot Noir grapes. The flavour profile of each is quite different; the Nebbiolo has the lightness we associate with other Italian reds. The flavour is fruity; raspberry and cherry, with an anise and slightly savoury finish.
The Santenay Grand Clos Rousseau is certainly a meatier and more textural wine, dense enough to coat the side of the glass. Hints of dark fruit and a slight nuttiness are the main flavours I observe – my favourite of the two.
For our main courses we both opt for fish. My plaice comes with sweetcorn puree, langoustine consommé and clams. The depth of flavour in the consommé is absolutely incredible and the fish has been prepared beautifully.
My friend also enjoys her monkfish, served in a champagne sauce with mussels and al dente bok choy. Jersey Royals and some buttery carbs and a tomato salad cuts through the dish with some sharpness.
Alfredo offers us a number of wine options to pair with our mains and I can’t resist the temptation of an ice-cold Meursault. One of my very favourite wines, it is packed with buttery and citrus flavour, delivering real body and tang.
It’s time for dessert – it’s a tough call, but whilst the cheeseboard is bound to be excellent we decide to pass on it in favour of the apple tarte tatin with clotted cream. This proves to be a very wise decision as our perfectly glistening, crisp and oozing dessert arrives. I once heard this dish described as “a toffee apple for grown ups” and I can’t really do better than that. The soft apples are encased in crisp pastry and caramel, the clotted cream melts over the top and it’s an all-round winner.
Our dessert is paired with an exceptionally fine 2018 Vin de Constance from South Africa. I have not always been a fan of dessert wine but this is an absolute treat – where peach and vanilla flavours are mellowed by a citrus finish.
We eventually call time on what has been a rather indulgent but very enjoyable Monday evening.
I’ll certainly be returning for second helpings of that tarte tatin and to sample the cheese. Who’s joining me?