SECRET BRUNCH AWARDS
2 0 1 5 F I N A L I S T : A U B A I N E K E N S I N G T O N
On an icy November afternoon, after dodging the hoards of shoppers, we found Aubaine Kensington, resting neatly on the corner of a cobble stone street. Aubaine in French means ‘godsend‘, which for us, wasn’t too far from the reality.
Aubaine prides itself in offering the perfect French cuisine, with the elegance of a Parisian salon. Well, having just returned from another episode of the Secret Brunch PARIS, we were perfectly equipped to judge exactly how this restaurant compared to the infamous Parisian bistros.
We arrived to find the venue heaving with a mixture of tourists and Chanel-clad mothers, decorating the quaint boulangierie, with their designer babies in tow.
The environment was warm and comforting, and it almost felt as if we had stumbled upon a hidden gem in the Provence, with its rustic, shabby chic and almost fairy-tale interiors. It appeared to be the perfect setting to people watch and warm up from the pre-winter chill.
The seasonal Christmas touches were a delightful fit for the money-laden streets outside. The white washed interior were perfectly offset by frosted pine trees, cinnamon sticks and golden hydrangeas lining the windows. Dried orange peels and chilli mobiles hung elegantly from the ceiling, which added a very fragrant and homely ambience. We almost wanted to pack our bags right there and head back for the lavender scented fields of France.
The brunch menu is rather simple, giving way to fashionable dishes with an understated charm; a little ‘Je ne sais quoi’ if you must, although it was a tiny bit unadventurous in our opinion. When it comes to brunch, it is easy to overlook classic French cuisines in favour of more ‘out the box’ menus. So, we weren’t too perturbed as the simple descriptions had the effect of initiating excitement in our attempt to conceptualise how they were going to taste.
We settled on a very herby Tartine d’avocat, which simply translates to avocado toast. The chef had perhaps been a bit too generous with the toasted seeds and sprouts that dressed the top, and we found ourselves having to ‘landscape’ our way to the avocado and poached egg. However, all the freshness and lightness of the dish were evident, which simply confirmed our thoughts on the simplicity of the menu.
We also opted for French Breakfast, which in our opinion wasn’t very different from its English counterpart. It had all the necessary components; fried eggs, sausages, bacon and baked beans, with a touch of green from the finely prepared kale leaves. The bacon was smashing! It was thin, with the right texture and crispiness. The beans weren’t the standard baked beans that we’ve had before. There was something unique about them that made them really stand out.
Coupled with fresh orange and lemon juice, adding the missing sweet, sour and bitterness to the overall experience, we just couldn’t ask for more variety of flavours.
We felt the need for something contrasting and colourful to accompany our main course; the Salade De Fruits Frais. It was refreshing, with the right selection.
Dessert was offered, and it was extremely hard to pass on the fresh éclairs and tartines on offer, but we were surprisingly full and rather enjoyed leaving with a light and satisfied stomach. Looking back now, we regret not trying at least one, as the presentation was truly chic and beautiful.
Aubaine has a ‘secret weapon’, setting it apart from many of the other French restaurants in London. It produces its own in-house French bread, found only in their restaurants. It boasts a bakery at the back, and the queue lining up for their Saturday baguette was a testament to the quality and freshness.
S U M M A R Y
Aubaine Kensington is a great place to stop off between high street shopping and toddler strolling. It is stylish, unaffectedly charming, and straight to the point. Aubaine offers exactly what it says on the tin. For those of us who adore Paris, this place is simply home away from home.
Our Verdict: High quality French cuisine, simplistic and elegant menu
Price: From £6 to £12
Service: Very attentive
Will we go back? Indeed, perhaps try out other Aubaines
Vote HERE to crown Aubaine as your 2015
Voting closes on 5th of December 2015.