Côte Review

Côte, a welcome exception to chain restaurant standardisation?

Jaymelouise Hudspith
17th November 2017
Image credit: Jaymelouise Hudspith

Chain restaurants can often be a let down; often have great intentions to bring their customers consistent and reliable quality at a sensible price. However, more often than not the quality begins to slip and their reputation is the only reason for their success.

Thankfully the new French brassiere Côte was a welcome exception. Côte is a large chain of French bistro restaurants located across the United Kingdom, its newest branch is situated on Newcastle’s Grainger Street, formerly Barclays Bank. The restaurant launched the 23rd October and I was lucky enough to be invited to their opening event, and to be one of the first to sample their exquisite French cuisine.    

The building has seen a complete renewal to accommodate its Parisian style, its décor sports floor to ceiling windows, a minimalist colour scheme, and décor that transports you straight to Paris. Not to mention a quaint outdoor terrace for those romantic enough to brace the Newcastle cold for a dinner under the stars.

Côte Brassiere offers a week day lunch and early evening set menu, £11.50 for two courses or £13.50 for three courses, even weekend breakfast deal. The ultimate romantic spot for date night or a welcome addition to the scene for any foodie.

lunch and early evening set menu, £11.50 for two courses or £13.50 for three courses, even weekend breakfast deal

For their launch event, I was lucky enough to sample a variety of starters. This included classics such as calamari in lemon and parsley with a side of garlic mayonnaise to Charcuterie board, Jambon de Savoie, smoked duck breast, duck rillettes with baby gem salad and chargrilled pain de campagna. However, my personal favourite had to be their Crab Mayonnaise, mixed crab meat mixed with avocado, cucumber, capers and tarragon on toasted sourdough – this dish surpassed my expectations.

Image credit: Jaymelouise Hudspith

Image credit: Jaymelouise Hudspith

When it came to my main I had to ask for the chef’s recommendations, as sadly I haven’t had much experience bar a Beef Bourguignon sampling French cuisine. I settled on the Roast Duck Breast served pink with a side of Gratin Potatoes and a Griottine Cherry Sauce. The duck breast was cooked divinely; it was perfectly seared and moist. The only improvement that could be recommended it the cherry sauce lacked in flavour and should have been more prominent.

After my sampling of starters and devouring my main the thought of dessert was all most too much for me. With this in mind I opted for their classic dark chocolate mousse, a light, fluffy and traditional dessert choice. Although the dessert itself was pleasant to taste, it lacked in presentation.  There is an old saying that you eat with your eyes first, this is true in many ways – presentation is key and my chocolate mousse would have benefitted massively from something as simple as a mint leaf or some icing sugar.

There is an old saying that you eat with your eyes first, this is true in many ways – presentation is key

As exquisite as the food was, one of the biggest motivations for me to return is this establishment was the staff. They were a credit to the restaurant. When I first entered I was welcomed immediately by a friendly waitress who showed me to my table and brought over complimentary drinks. Unfortunately, she managed to stumble with the tray soaking her in champagne, this did not dim her positive attitude or her smile despite being wet and no doubt cold. All staff members were quick to clear empty plates, refill drinks and resolve any issues.

Despite small critics, my first of no doubt many future experiences with Côte was overwhelmingly positive and comes highly recommended.

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