According to Elix, one of the new “ones to watch” is The Ten Cases bistrot restaurant close to Covent Garden in London. So, when we had some spare cash in our joint house bank account (obviously once my garden leave finished and i was away travelling the heating bills went down!) we thought we would treat ourselves to a meal out. I dont think either of us have been more pleasantly surprised than when we arrived at the Ten Cases.
The restaurant is named as so because the wine list comprises of ten cases of white wine and ten cases of red wine – the venue is small and cosy with the menu written on blackboards around the place. It really is somewhere you instantly feel comfortable and welcome. After 2 table switches (Elix was in a fussy mood!) we ordered and received some warm baguette and butter which always goes down well with us northerners. We went for the cheapest white wine which was a Nosiola from Italy (produced by Cavit in Trentino), it was extremely drinkable with a subtle hint of citrus, very light and fresh. To start we shared marinated anchovies (my food heaven if I ever get onto Saturday Kitchen) and Salt and Pepper Squid. The anchovies quite simply tasted of holiday – the taste was sharp, the texture was soft and as a dish it was a lovely light way to cleanse the palet and start the meal. The squid was lightly battered in salt and pepper and was dressed with fried green chilli slices and pomegranate – it was accompanied by a spicy thousand-island type dressing. The squid was so perfectly cooked it was soft and tasted amazing with the salty, peppery, crispy crust, which when followed by the pop of the pomegranate was delightful! I would have had another portion of that for my main. Between the starter and the main the waitress brought us more bread (another big tick!). For my main I ordered a special of bavette steak with hand cut chips and salad and Elix ordered a special of pork belly with mash, purple broccoli and red wine jus. The bavette cut of steak is also known as the flank cut which comes from the underside, abdominal side of the cow – it is usually flat and long and ideal for grilling or pan-frying. Anyway, my steak was topped with a salsa type topping of shallots and garlic and vinegar (I think) and accompanied by chips which would rival my mum’s old homemade chips – crispy with a fluffy inside. It really was delicious and all perfectly cooked. Elix’s pork was to die for – each slice was topped with a salty slice of crackling and the mash was smooth and creamy – the jus was light and not overpowering – just right.
Obviously we managed dessert – I went for vanilla creme brulee and as expected the caramel top gave way to the rich, creamy, vanilla dusted middle with a lovely sharp crack. It was a pretty big portion and i took great pleasure in polishing it all off!. Elix boldly went for a cheese option (after a few disasters with peanut butter based desserts in the past she thought cheese was a good, savoury alternative) – the waitress recommended the Olivet Cendre cheese as Elix mentioned she liked mild, creamy cheese and it didnt disappoint – it was similar to a Camembert as presented slightly melted in its skin but with a richer, creamier flavour.
By the end of the meal we were both very full, very happy and very impressed and I’m sure we will both go back. In fact it was so good that we may be brave and take Mum and Dad next time they are in London!
This blog isnt supposed to be a reviews blog but for the record I would give The Ten Cases 10/10 – we had a really lovely evening and I would recommend you all go there – if Elix is right it will be super busy and “the place to be” in no time!