Monday, 4 November 2013

REVIEW: Augustine Kitchen, Battersea Bridge Road, Battersea

Battersea is one of those areas which i really love, but it lacks very good restaurants - especially in the Battersea Bridge area. I got very excited when i heard a French restaurant had just opened over the bridge from Chelsea, led by head chef, Franck Raymond. He already worked wonders at Mon Plaisir in Covent Garden, with its authentic French food. Here, Franck is focusing on a menu led by ingredients from his picturesque home town of Evian.

The dining room of Augustine Kitchen looks as though its been here for years and while it does have some charm to it, on the whole it feels cheaply decorated with some panelling round the bar which looks though it belongs on the floor instead. The menu is outstandingly priced with a set menu at lunch costing a mere £13.95 for three courses, and £22.95 for three courses at all other times. A great deal for Battersea residents.


The house wine we started to demolish was juicy, very quaffable and a reasonable £21 a bottle. The table near us, who were french and very loud were sipping on a magnum of Lynch Bages 2002. I think they were friends of the chef - needless to say, they were very loud and annoying. Some bread arrived which was not too dissimilar to soda bread tasted fine. It was far to messy trying to cut into the thing. The butter (which is brought in) on the other hand was deliciously salty and crunchy.

Augustine Kitchen Battersea - French Onion Soup

Dining from the very competitive £22.95 set menu, we started with a classic - French onion soup. It arrived very nontraditional looking and modern in its presentation. Served in some lovely black crockery it was an amalgamation of caramelised onions blitzed to form a soup thicker than I'm normally used too. It had a lovely rich and deep flavour - very warming with the cold weather coming in. But the soup was overly sweet and over caramelised. The croutons immediately lost any crunch and turned to pure sogginess - though the blue cheese on them was very good and added a lovely punch to the soup. A winter warmer maybe, but its tradition felt somewhat lost in the sultry black bowl.


First of our mains was the shoulder of lamb confit and spicy tabbouleh. The shoulder of lamb, i must say was heavenly. It was tender and fell to pieces at the touch of a fork. Its sauce was rich with a strong meaty flavour - but lacking in all over ingredients that might have been in it. The tabbouleh, which here is unusually heavy on the bulgar wheat had a nice soft flavour to it and perfectly cooked - though I'm not entirely confident it classifies itself fully as tabbouleh or that it had any spice in it. With a small helping of sauce you end up with no meat, and lots of the tabbouleh mixture left over.


Our other meaty main course was the rib eye steak with a shallot and beef jus, plus a generous side of chips (fries). Fries were on their way to becoming a winner - they had a nice flavour, seasoned to perfection, but unfortunately some were crunchy, and some were raw in the middle. Not quite sure how they managed this, considering they must have hit the deep fat fryer together? The steak was cooked exactly how i had asked, medium-rare but it was still a little chewy and although the flavour was there, the sauce let it down. All i could taste in my sauce was not the shallot, but the beef juice and a very heavy oily flavour which succumbed the meat. It was filling, but it didn’t tantalise my taste buds.

Augustine Kitchen Battersea - coconut floating island

Desserts were little more of an improvement. An unexpected coconut floating island was on the menu, here boasting a lime and vanilla custard. At first glasses it looked good. A light, soft and chewy meringue was very delectable. Fresh lime grated around it gave some lift in flavour, but the custard, had barely any - especially notes of vanilla, they were barely detectable. There was far too much custard as well and the dessert was a bit too big on a whole - halfway through it became an effort, with each mouthful becoming a repetitive chore to eat.

Augustine Kitchen Battersea - chocolate mousse

The best dish of our lunch was a very well made dark chocolate mousse with caramel and chocolate sauce. The mousse was light and airy, without being too bitter, while the chocolate and caramel sauce was quite something, making me long for this even after we left. If you end up here, make sure you order this.

We left the restaurant very full, as portion sizes were good. With such competitive prices we didn’t leave the restaurants feeling though we'd had a bad meal, but instead an average one which just scraped satisfying our Sunday lunch needs. For me i think the restaurant is lacking a little charm, and its cooking is somewhat confused at the moment. Quality was good, but execution still needs work. Perhaps this place could become Battersea’s go-to French bistro, but for me now - i won't be heading back anytime too soon.

6/10

I have since been back to Augustine Kitchen - which you can read all about HERE

Square MealAugustine Kitchen on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. I think this reviewer started out trying to show his cleverness by disapproving just for the sake of appearing discriminating. My experience couldn't have been more different!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Elaine, thankyou for commenting. I always review a restaurant honestly and truthfully. I did not dine on my own and my fellow diners had the same experience as myself. Why i would want to discriminate a good meal is beyond me. I'll endeavour to try it again and in the near future and see if anything has changed.

      Delete