What: A French-inspired café and restaurant has launched in London’s leafy St John’s Wood area.
Who: Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the seasoned hospitality veterans behind restaurant group Corbin & King. While they’re probably best known for The Wolseley grand café opposite The Ritz, they’re also behind London’s Brasserie Zedel and Cafe Wolseley in Bicester Village.
The vibe: Formerly a Carluccio’s, the restaurant site has had a complete revamp with a design that pays homage both to the boulevard cafes of Paris and the artistic heritage of the local area, which was home to the St John’s Wood Art School (later the Anglo-French Art centre) until 1951. The restaurant is split in to a front café-style area, with outdoor seating that will be perfect for a morning coffee, and a larger horse-shoe shaped dining room at the back with seating around a curved edge. Soutine has a relaxed, neighbourhood feel, and we hear it is already getting very busy in the evenings. Corbin & King certainly know the hospitality business, and it’s hard to find fault with the food or service here, which we imagine will give The Ivy up the road a good run for its money.
The food: The menu is an all-day offer, starting with breakfast that ranges from simple porridge (£3.75) or a crispy bacon roll (£5.50) to the more luxe boiled eggs with Oscietra caviar (£31.75). The longer all day menu features wild mushrooms on toasted brioche (£9.25); and Prestige de Claire Oysters with shallot vinegar (£2.50 each), while the whole globe artichoke (£10.25) is already an Instagram hit.
Larger main courses include steak frites with salad and bearnaise sauce (£18.50) and a pan-seared fillet of sea bass with broccoli (£19.75). It’s worth saving room for desserts, which include classics such as banana split (£6.95) and black forest gateau (£5.25), alongside a salted caramel éclair (£3.50).
And another thing: King has said Soutine is “bespoke” and “not the beginning of a chain”, so don’t expect to see a replicant pop-up in another neighbourhood. However, there are plans afoot for a new Corbin & King restaurant in Soho, with the group awaiting the outcome of a planning application to open a ‘high quality and good value fish restaurant’ in the area.