Located at 218 Trinity Road, London SW17 7HP. Telephone 020 8767 5810

Trying to find a really good classic, simple Bistrot style restaurant is no longer as easy as it once was, even in France, as we have found to our disappointment in recent years. Here in London and its suburbs, the proprietors of French restaurants are often over ambitious, a failing that can end up in disaster. So, when I heard that the Pyrenean chef Pablo Gallego had opened a proper Bistrot on Wandsworth Common, I thought I’d let it settle down for a few months before going along with some friends to see what it was all about. I was also intrigued by the name, which reminded me of that whacky French cartoon film Belleville Rendezvous, with its crazy cyclists and hilariously manic dog (not to mention the toad eating witches)!

Bellevue Rendezvous has a fresh, pastoral look. The bright dining room is filled with light from the large skylights, and with the steel blue woodwork, it’s a sophisticated pastiche of French country style. By the entrance is a sitting area with a view of the Common. A large banquette, upholstered with red cushions, is great for larger groups of friends or family to lounge about on. Elsewhere, pine tables and chairs are topped with grey and white runners, fresh flowers and candles, while attractive enamelled panels with bright floral images decorate the walls.

Chef patron Pablo Gallego offers an ever changing set menu of sensibly few choices, but which celebrate his enthusiasm for sourcing seasonal produce. (Lunch: 2-courses £12.50, 3-courses £15 and dinner: 2-courses £16, 3-courses £19
This is served alongside an a la carte menu featuring four more choices for each of the three courses. To get an idea of what’s on offer we’ve appended an example menu below, but it’s already quite different from the Autumn menu we enjoyed the other day.

From the set menu the starter “Seasonal Quiche” was light and creamy and flavoured with mushrooms. From the a.l.c menu a scallop raviole was really well executed and went down a storm. My pigeon breast was incredibly tender and came with grilled figs – a marvellous marriage of flavours.

Then out came our mains In slightly indecent haste – getting the timing perfect is such an art and this was really one of so few little things we could find to criticise. From the set menu the guinea fowl was impeccably cooked, ably complemented by pumpkin mash and nutty braised chicory. My sea bream was beautifully succulent with close textured flakes of tender flesh and a crispy skin that all got eaten.

The main course venison fillet with celeriac purée, salsify and ceps (£19), was pink in the middle and tender, but a bit lacking in gamey punch, easily out manoeuvred by its delicious accompaniment of celeriac mash and ceps. Butchers these days seem to be afraid to hang meat, especially game – for long enough. The confit duck leg might well have come from a small goose, hugely generous, with plump meat that fell off the bone – gaining a serious quack factor of 8/10.

How two of us could have managed chocolate fondant beats me! It oozed runny chocolate sauce which was surprisingly cool (in both senses).Signature dish Gateaux de Pablo was like a cross between an apple tart and an almond slice and pleased me very much. We shared a platter of morceaux des fromages de France – all in perfect condition and a great treat, especially the oozing Vacherin..

Wine is an integral element of the Bellevue Rendezvous experience and the wine list majors on French wines, with the inclusion of the option of enjoying wine from the barrel, available by the glass (£4), half litre (£10) and litre (£18). There is also a selection from ‘la cave du patron’. For something a little different I recommend the White Gros Manseng (£19.50) from the ever reliable Alain Brumont. The house red is jolly decent too, at £17.00.

In conclusion, I can recommend The Bellevue Rendezvous for good country style French cooking that I am sure would have won the late Elizabeth David’s approval.

Clifford Mould November 2009

Bellevue Rendezvous is open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch 12 noon – 2pm, and dinner 7pm – 10pm. The restaurant is located at 218 Trinity Road, London SW17 7HP. Telephone 020 8767 5810 or visit .

No comments yet

leave a comment




By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.