Xavier Rousset is kind of a big deal in the wine world. In 2002 he became the youngest master sommelier in the world and has worked in the likes of Hotel du Vin and Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons before opening Michelin-starred Texture and the 28-50 group. Now he’s branched out on his own and opened Blandford Comptoir in Marylebone. The space is small but stylish with comfortable leather stools to pull up to the marble-topped bar, or sink into the teal leather and velvet banquette seating around the tightly packed tables towards the back.
The menu is split into simple sections – raw, vegetable, fish and shellfish, and meat – but what arrives are dishes that deliver bold flavours. Start with a plate of juicy, buttery raw Sicilian red prawns dressed in a zesty amalfi lemon oil and a carpaccio of meltingly soft fassone beef with subtle truffle dressing and salty, 36-month-aged parmesan. Duck encased in beautifully made pasta comes with a rich, deep sauce that shows real skill from the kitchen.
But the wine steals the show. Each course is expertly matched by the charismatic sommelier (in fact, we struggle for room on the table) but perseverance is rewarded by standout discoveries from less-known areas. You’re in good hands here, and that’ll keep you coming back for more.
Words: Sarah Kingsbury, October 2016
1 Blandford Street,